“There was a backup in the restroom because the sewer pump is not performing as it was designed,” said James Gartland, marine safety captain for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department/Lifeguard Division. “Currently we are working with the contractor and the designer to come up with a permanent solution to the issue.
“The public restrooms will be closed until we can execute this plan, and temporary facilities have been provided on-site for public use until the restroom can be reopened. The temp facilities will be serviced every day.”
Gartland said technical difficulties have not prevented lifeguards from using the new tower. “We are conducting some observation training and lightly using the facility,” he said. “Once the remaining furnishings and equipment are delivered and installed, and the pump issue is resolved, lifeguards will be using the facility to its full potential.”
Lifeguards are transitioning into La Jolla's new Children's Pool Lifeguard Tower that has been nearly nine years in the making. Planning for the new tower, one of three built in La Jolla over the past decade that cost $3.1 million to construct, goes back to at least 2007.
The Children's Pool project has been plagued with problems and delays since the get-go. La Jolla community planners early on questioned the size and scale of the old tower, built in the 1960s. That tower was condemned by the health department before razed in fall 2013.
Lifeguards had been operating out of a pod-like temporary station atop scaffolding next door to the new tower.
Gartland described the new tower as a “huge improvement,” over its predecessor, adding it's designed to accommodate summer peak-season staffing.
“This building now has men’s and women’s locker rooms, an area for lifeguards to prepare food and a first-aid room for patient care,” Gartland said noting the new building's observation tower “has a higher vantage point and an increase in degrees of view.”
The new structure affords lifeguards the ability to observe the water from other areas in the tower while doing other work functions. The lifeguard tower is a state-of-the-art emergency response facility that fits all of the needs of the Lifeguard Division including having individual, public restrooms while being ADA-compliant.
Construction began in early 2013 for the new Children's Pool tower, which has been occupied since June 27. The project went through three seal moratoriums including an unexpected delay when “seagulls were found nesting on the job site, preventing work resuming until the young seagulls developed their wings and flew away from the construction area,” Gartland said.
Of the three lifeguard towers built in La Jolla recently, including the smaller Cove tower and the larger (and first completed) tower at La Jolla Shores, Children's Pool tower “had the advantage of being the third one built,” Gartland said. He noted “adjustments and lessons learned on the other towers were applied and planned for on this tower. This is a tower that the community can enjoy that also gives the lifeguards the ability to provide a high level of safety to a rugged area of the coast.”