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Extreme Makeover: Laguna Edition - New Lifeguard HQ Finally Coming

Ten years in the planning, a new home for Laguna Beach lifeguards gets approved.

Just when the sewer lift station construction project at Main Beach is about to finish up after nearly a year of work, a new hammer-and-nails extravaganza is about to begin in virtually the same spot.

This would be the 10-years-in-the-planning tear-down and reconstruction of the lifeguard headquarters building, the plans and contracts for which the Laguna Beach City Council approved on Tuesday, for a total of $5.6 million. The big winner of the night was Riverside-based Stronghold Engineering, which scooped up $4.3 million worth of the pie.

The project will begin in September (naturally, as the tourist season winds down) with the setting up of a temporary lifeguard headquarters on Main Beach near the city's historic lifeguard tower. Demolition of the current headquarters—built 30 years ago by volunteer labor, and, let's be honest, one of the ugliest buildings in Laguna Beach—will start in October. The work will be ongoing through January of 2014.

"We looked at getting it completed in nine months," said City Manager John Pietig at Tuesday's meeting, "but it simply wasn't possible."

The new 6,722-square-foot building will be eco-friendly, with solar panels and solar-powered water heaters, as well as a green roof that will be topped with succulent plants. The bluff it abuts will be restored, and a new path leading up to Heisler Park will also be built.

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