New lifeguard tower's design makes beachgoers nervous - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 -

New lifeguard tower's design makes beachgoers nervous

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A new lifeguard tower at La Jolla Shores is drawing both praise and concern about its safety. But the architectural firm that designed the $3.8 million-project says beachgoers and lifeguards have absolutely nothing to fear.

The 1,400-square-foot lifeguard tower is perched above the La Jolla Shores boardwalk.

"I feel like it's going to go snap, and it's going to break, and they're going to fall," beachgoer Breanna Wilkerson said.

Despite that concern, architects say the structure is completely sound.

"I want to assure everybody that this building is very, very safe," tower architect Ralph Roesling said. "The city would not let anybody in this building if it wasn't safe."

The tower was built to withstand strong seismic activity along the coast.

"It's not going anywhere. It's built with 7,000 PSI concrete, which is very high strength concrete, and very very sizable rebar," Roesling said.

Roesling says during construction, there were a couple of tremors after the arm was up, and there were no problems. The interior of the arm has epoxy-coated steel, which will not corrode over time. And as far as the weight it will hold?

"It's actually designed for about 3,500 pounds of life load on the top, which would be, I don't know, 10 people up there. And there's only going to be three people up there maximum," Roesling said.

UCSD structural engineering department students recently evaluated the project for its safety and health and concluded that "metallic elements, such as the stairs, girders and columns are all prone to cracking, rust and corrosion over time."

The study calls for continuous monitoring for any cracks or defects by trained ultrasonic testing personnel.

One visitor says she's happy the old, ugly tower is now a thing of the past and a new one is in place.

"I think it's stark and sort of futuristic and kind of Craftsman-looking with the wood. I think it's attractive, I like it." she said.

"The original tower in front of the park was much wider and more bulky, so now that it's gone this is a much more transparent building looking out to the ocean," Roesling said.

Demolition on the existing 850-square-foot tower is expected to be finished by the end of this week, just in time for the upcoming July Fourth holiday.

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