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New Marine Safety Center opening delayed

The opening of the new Marine Safety Center at Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas has been delayed, officials told the city council April 26.

Encinitas broke ground on the new center last fall. The former lifeguard tower, originally built by lifeguard staff in 1953, was demolished on Oct. 24.

City staff originally expected the new tower to be completed before Memorial Day on May 29, but a variety of problems, including delayed construction; a buried seawall; the discovery of asbestos and lead; and poor weather, have led to a new deadline at the end of July.

“Between October and March of this year, we’ve already experienced 20 days of rain and rain clean-up,” said Stephanie Kellar, associate civil engineer for the city. “It’s made a huge impact on the project.”

Kellar said there are still some large, outstanding changes that could impact the timeline.

Those changes include necessary door and window changes in June in order to “better facilitate the lifeguards use of the building” and the installation of intercom systems.

“The lifeguards can only move in once its fully operational,” Kellar said.

Lifeguard Capt. Larry Giles said he is excited for the new tower and that he’s glad the proper measures are being taken to erect the tower.

“I’m watching the details close... so it can last another 50 years,” he said.

A team of lifeguards, engineers, fire and parks and recreation officials will review site plans for each event permit to “optimize the [Moonlight Beach] space” even during construction.

The total cost for the new tower is estimated at $3,728,104. The delays and upcoming changes should not impact the budget, Kellar said.

Former mayor Kristin Gaspar said at the groundbreaking event that an upgrade was long overdue as the Center serves as the headquarters for all Encinitas Lifeguard beach operations and first aid services for city beaches that host more than 3.5 million visitors per year and up to 30,000 in a single weekend during the busy summer months.

The Surfing Madonna Oceans project — which puts on the Surfing Madonna Beach Run annually as part of its mission to help raise money for community efforts — donated a 8-foot-by-15-foot mosaic that will be placed on the tower.


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