By Jane Smith
Delray Beach city commissioners approved changes to the city’s eight lifeguard towers that will add more than $21,000 to what some have called “mini condos” that now sit on the beach.
One change order on June 19 included seven items: extra 30 days to pressure-treat the lumber in a more environmentally friendly manner; extra seven days to pick the correct color schemes; extra 14 days to comply with state regulations to protect nesting sea turtles; $9,600 for roof material change from cedar shakes to metal; $8,700 for roof color change so that the lifeguard towers now match the roofs on the pavilion and gazebos; $2,906.86 for stainless steel testing of bolts; and extra 30 days starting Nov. 1 to demolish the existing towers. The state won’t allow demolitions on the beach during turtle-nesting season.
Bolt testing cost by an independent laboratory, Applied Technical Services, was not included. That cost was said to be $1,245.
The stainless steel tests were done after rust was found on the bolts just weeks after the lifeguard towers were placed on the beach..
“We were told the stainless steel bolts would not rust,” Mayor Shelly Petrolia said June 19. City Attorney Max Lohman, whose undergraduate degree was in oceanography, said the surface rust on the bolts was likely from a reaction with sulfur in the air. He also explained that stainless steel is not rustproof, but rust resistant.
The commission voted 4-1 to approve the change order to the lifeguard tower contract, with the mayor dissenting.
Petrolia supported replacing the old lifeguard towers, which were no longer usable, but she didn’t want to spend so much of taxpayer dollars on the new ones.
The new lifeguard towers will each have a metal roof, a solar panel to power public safety radios and a fan inside, impact windows, louvered shutters and skids so that they can move easily along the beach.
The $21,000 will come from the 5.2 percent contingency fund in the contract, said Susan Goebel-Canning, new public works director.
The towers now cost $128,951 each. When such soft costs as moving the towers are included, the individual price for a lifeguard tower tops $142,000.
Goebel-Canning assured the commission that the lifeguard towers would last 20 years and the hardware would not have to be replaced.