Opening of Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard Building Delayed Until 2024

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An artist’s rendering of the proposed Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard facility near the Balboa Pier.
— Art courtesy city of NBJG

The opening of the highly anticipated Junior Lifeguard Building in Newport Beach will be delayed by several months after City project managers determined that the building’s concrete walls do not meet specifications established in the construction contract. Additional time is needed to rectify the issues.

Originally set for a Memorial Day weekend grand opening, the Junior Lifeguard Building is now expected to be completed by early 2024 and operational for next year’s summer program. For safety reasons, all construction activity will be halted during the upcoming busy summer months.

The facility, located near the base of the Balboa Pier, is being funded through a partnership between the City and the Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard Foundation. City officials and Foundation leaders expressed disappointment over the construction delay but emphasized Newport Beach’s commitment to providing a well-constructed facility on behalf of residents and private donors to the Junior Lifeguard Foundation.

“Although this delay is regrettable, it is necessary to build an excellent facility that will serve our community for decades,” said Newport Beach Mayor Noah Blom. “We are working with our contractor and fully expect to resolve these issues, resume construction in the fall and celebrate the opening of a world-class facility next year.”

“It is unfortunate that the building will not be completed for the 2023 junior lifeguard season,” said Graham Harvey, chairman of the Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard Foundation. “However, we are thankful the City is taking measured steps to provide a quality facility for many generations to come. We look forward to the grand opening in 2024.”

The construction delays will not require additional fundraising to complete the project.

Kids take to the beach for the Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard program.

The new, 5,400 square-foot Junior Lifeguard Building will serve as a permanent home for the City’s popular Junior Lifeguard program, replacing a temporary trailer. The building will be available for various public uses when the Junior Lifeguard program is not in session.

The total project cost of $7.8 million is being funded mostly through federal funds received by the City through the American Rescue Plan Act ($5.2 million), and private donations to the Junior Lifeguard Foundation ($2.051 million).

The Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard program, established in 1984, is one of the City’s most popular youth education programs, employing about 60 instructors and averaging 1,400 participants each summer. The seven-week program operates from late June through early August.

The City’s Recreation and Senior Services Department will manage the facility when it is not being used for the Junior Lifeguard program. Potential public uses include fitness classes, education courses, facility rentals, and community meetings.

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