The makeover was made possible by a surprise $20,000 boost in discretionary funds from the office of District 2 City Councilman Kevin Faulconer and a matching disbursement from San Diego lifeguards.
Until the unexpected decision, repair work on the disheveled lifeguard tower had been up in the air, but money saved in overhead costs at Faulconer’s office allowed the councilman to reinvest the money into something worthwhile, according to Matt Awbrey, director of communications for Faulconer.
Faulconer himself said no one seems to remember the last time the Ocean Beach lifeguard tower got a makeover.
“This is our gift to the people of Ocean Beach in order to make the building look nice and presentable for the upcoming holiday season,” Faulconer said. “I felt strongly that this facility needed to be upgraded to reflect the pride of the men and woman who work here [at the lifeguard tower] and to protect our families and the community. [The facelift] was long overdue and it looks great.”
Chief Rick Wurts of San Diego Lifeguard Services said he, too, was extremely happy with the outcome of the makeover.
“I am glad we could give my [lifeguard] team and our community what they so long deserved, an attractive building to work in and to look at,” said Wurts. “Councilmember Faulconer deserves a lot of credit for his initiative, pushing this remodel of the tower. He and I communicate on a daily basis. He has a lot of concerns for all community aspects. This was great leadership on his part.”
Once the makeover funding was in place, the city crew got to work.
Longtime city worker and professional painter Wayne Hurlbert and a crew of five set to water blasting, priming and painting the lifeguard tower, restoring it to a shiny new facade.
According to Hurlbert, salt air had caused a chalky buildup on the building, forcing workers to water blast the entire structure first. The crew worked to ensure the washed-off mix did not get into the storm drains.
After prepping the metal frames on the building in order for the primer to stick, the exterior of the tower was primed to bond the paint.
It was not immediately clear whether the structure might need one or more coats, “depending on how [the paint] covers,” said Hurlbert.
“We’re down to a skeleton crew of six, but we get the job done expertly,” he said. “No matter what people say, we’re there when a good team is needed. This is the most professional crew of painters you can get.”