The entire Laguna Beach City Council was present to cut the ribbon last Friday on the city’s $7 million lifeguard headquarters, a more than year-long construction project at the north end of Main Beach initiated in 1999 and redesigned six times.
“This building will allow employees to be more effective and accessible,” Chief Kevin Snow said to an audience eager to tour the two-level building with prow-like blackened windows that provide much-improved sight lines for dispatchers. For the first time, guards have a room to render first aid, including a hot-water footbath to sooth the pain of sting-ray victims, and rooms on the basement level for training, dive-gear and personal lockers.
It replaced a worn structure half the size built by the guards themselves, said Dale Ghere, one of many former guards in the crowd eager to share the moment.
Art features added character to the building. They included Casey Parlette’s sculpture of swim fins, dedicated to longtime guard Dean Westgaard, and Terry Thornley’s “Grace,” a sculptural sea mural.