By Diane Y. Welch
On July 1, as part of the city of Solana Beach’s Centennial Celebration, the newly renovated Fletcher Cove Community Center had its grand re-opening. In keeping with the community spirit, the center renovation was a community-driven project and was community funded.
Not quite ready for business on the day of the dedication, the center is now close to completion with final details to Phase II of the building project being added daily.
Jerilyn Larson, as part of her self-motivated community service, took on a mission to help oversee some of these details. A Solana Beach resident with a background in project management and engineering, she volunteered to help guide the project to its successful outcome. As she already volunteers in her children’s schools, Larson felt that she wanted to make a more permanent gift back to the community, she said.
“I took a look at the plans and it was pretty plain Jane for the building, so I wanted to put some more personality into it,” Larson explained. “And we have so many wonderful artists in our community that I wanted to pull in some of these resources.”
Larson talked to various local artists and got them involved. Chris Austin — a fused glass artist — provided her design talents to create a colorful wave-inspired mural in tile, glass, and rock that decorates the interior walls of the two bathrooms in the center.
The donors for the bathroom walls were building contractor Pat Dougherty from Steigerwald Dougherty, and Terry Wardell from Wardell Builders. Their funds purchased the materials, said Larson.
Del Mar-based public artist Betsy Schultz created a donor wall, which is installed next to the main entry, that recognizes those who gave funds to help complete the community center. Schultz also created the front entry sign.
In her mission to involve community members in the project, last spring Larson contacted Lindsay Hern, the digital arts teacher at Earl Warren Middle School, to facilitate student involvement.
Hern taught her students about logos and graphic design to help them create a banner and logo for the center. Each student made a proposal, with the top 20 designs presented before the city. The winning digital design was created by Maile Allison. Her wave and sun motif logo appears on a banner installed just to the south of the center.
Also in the design phase is an exterior bike rack. “We’ve come up with a manufacturer, and we have the design, now we just need the funding to make it and install it,” said Larson. Stainless steel metal bars, with cut-out letters spelling the names of the city’s local beaches, form the unique bike rack.
The building renovation, designed by Solana Beach-based architect Stephen Dalton who donated his services, features green building design and green materials throughout. The building has accessible parking, a new parking lot and driveway, and a much larger flat land area where a shuffle board court used to be.
Phase I of the renovation was kicked off earlier in the year with a $279,000 construction contract awarded to Delta Builders. The amount was a portion of the funds needed to complete the project. The Solana Beach Community Foundation was organized to accept donations of money, materials and labor, from businesses and individuals, which enabled Phase II to begin in the spring. Funding is still needed to furnish the facility, according to the city’s website.
The community center will be used by the Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society for meetings, adult education classes, junior lifeguard classes, children’s art lessons and the popular community sing-along.
To make a donation, contact the Solana Beach Foundation at P.O. Box 463, Solana Beach, CA 92075, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 858-752-7374.