Donation allows city to renovate Fletcher Cove as planned

SOLANA BEACH — Thanks to the generosity of a Solana Beach resident, the city will be renovating Fletcher Cove Community Center with all the amenities included in the original plans.
Peter House, a member of the Solana Beach Community Foundation that has been fundraising for the project, told council members during the Feb. 23 meeting that he would make up an approximately $23,000 shortfall so the building can include standard seam metal roofing, south-side accordion doors, plywood sheathing and colored concrete.
“If I had my druthers we would take care of everything but the metal roof but my wife tells me we’re not allowed to do that so I guess we’ll take care of that, too,” House said when the agenda item was open for public comment.
The renovation is the second part of a three-phase project to bring the aging community center, a former Army barracks that was moved to its present bluff-top location in the 1940s, into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Phase one, which included the parking lot, was completed in November. The city issued a request for proposals late last year, but all nine bids received were significantly higher than the $279,000 budgeted for the project.
After city staff and the architect worked to trim some of the more costly items, the project was readvertised in January and the construction contract was awarded to Carlsbad-based Delta Builders.
The lower bid was achieved by substituting accordion-style doors with French doors, using gray rather than colored concrete, installing an asphalt shingle roof instead of a metal one and using drywall rather than plywood sheathing below the ceiling rafters.
The construction contract, including the contingency, is $279,000. The city had $316,000 in available funding — $69,000 from the Americans with Disabilities Act, $62,000 of redevelopment agency money and a $185,000 donation from the Solana Beach Community Foundation.
That left about $37,000 in discretionary funds, but approximately $29,000 of that is needed for utility costs, such as a water meter and underground wires, leaving $8,200.
The city needed $31,750 to move forward with the higher-end roofing, concrete, doors and sheathing.
Mayor Lesa Heebner said at the January meeting that she was not happy about the changes and asked the community to “please open up your wallets.” House took the request to heart.
“We get to have it all,” Heebner said. “Thank you very much. We really appreciate it.”
Original plans also called for accordion doors on the west side of the building, but they will be substituted with standard French doors for a $25,000 savings.
Roof-mounted solar panels, estimated to cost $22,000, also remain unfunded but City Manager David Ott said he is discussing a potential deal with a Carlsbad-based solar company to include the item at no cost to the city.
The renovation phase officially got under way Feb. 23, with construction just about ready to begin. The project is expected to be substantially complete this summer in time for the city’s 25th anniversary celebration in July.
House said the Civic and Historical Society plans to install an onsite camera so the community can go online to watch construction as it takes place.

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