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City Council recently awarded a $60,000 contract to a local architectural firm to create three options for renovating or replacing the Marine Safety Center at Fletcher Cove, an approximately 75-year old structure that currently does not comply with most city building codes or the Americans with Disabilities Act. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek
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City to update lifeguard station

SOLANA BEACH — Plans are underway to renovate or replace the Marine Safety Center at Fletcher Cove, an approximately 75-year-old structure that currently does not comply with most city building codes or the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Council members at the March 23 meeting approved a $60,000 agreement with Stephen Dalton Architects to perform a needs assessment and feasibility study to determine the best course of action.

The Solana Beach-based company, which also designed the nearby Fletcher Cove Community Center, Highway 101 bus shelters and Del Mar Shores lifeguard station, is tasked with providing basic level drawings and high-level cost estimates for three alternatives.

One option will be to renovate the existing facility, which was built around the 1940s, to comply with current laws and codes.

“That might be a challenge,” City Engineer Mo Sammak said.

The architects must also consider creating a “temporary” modular structure that would replace the current lifeguard station until a permanent one could be built in the next five to 15 years.

They are also asked to design a building that would replace the existing one and meet the needs of the lifeguards.

“Of course that will be the most expensive alternative,” Sammak said.

Stephen Dalton Architects designed the recently built marine safety centers in Del Mar and Encinitas, which cost about $2.7 million and $3 million, respectively.

Councilman Mike Nichols said the scope of work should include detailed interviews with the lifeguard staff to learn what their needs are and what they think are the pros and cons of the existing facility.

“I also think it might be interesting if you held some kind of stakeholder/community outreach to see what that lifeguard facility really means to the community because there’s a lot of history there,” he said.

“I think you’d be surprised how many people have opinions about how that building should look and blend with the character of Fletcher Cove Park,” he added. “I would hope that the first priority is the rehabilitation of this historic facility.”

Five companies responded to a request for proposals that “ranged in varying degrees of detail and presentation,” City Manager Greg Wade said.

The evaluation team considered each one based on project understanding; qualifications that included experience with other city or similar projects within the past five years; the experience and expertise of key personnel; and primary office location.

“Obviously on a project like this it’s really helpful to have a consultant who’s readily available to address issues that come up during the study,” Wade said.

The proposed fees ranged from $23,500 to $73,450.

Unlike a capital improvement project bid, professional services agreements such as this are not required to be awarded to the lowest responsive bidder.

“Based on all the evaluation criteria we selected the group that we felt was most responsive, most capable and most qualified to perform the services and then negotiated an agreement for a not-to-exceed amount … of $60,000,” Wade said.

The project is included in the city’s current work plan, with $40,000 already budgeted for the study. Funds that weren’t used for a fire station repairs project were allocated to make up the $20,000 difference.