DEL MAR–Del Mar city leaders cut the ribbon on the Del Mar Civic Center June 30 during dedication ceremonies filled with enthusiasm and mutual congratulations.
“Today is a day to honor the many trailblazers over the past decades whose vision and hard work made this facility a reality,” Del Mar Mayor Dwight Worden said.
Many of those trailblazers and great numbers of residents assembled on the civic center courtyard to witness a ribbon-cutting and listen to speeches and the music of two Del Mar natives, Peter and Tripp Sprague.
Visitors nibbled catered fare from local restaurants. Children frolicked and played games led by the volunteers from the Del Mar Foundation. City employees greeted residents as they toured offices awash with natural lighting and ventilated by sea breezes.
Posted throughout the building were placards rich with information: cost ($19.1 million); configuration of the office space (low-profile work stations don’t block the ocean views); lighting (sensors detect motion and natural lighting levels to adjust the lights automatically); desks (for better ergonomics, they can lift or lower so employees can sit or stand while they work).
At 8,855 square feet, City Hall serves the public with a single, one-stop counter for residents to conduct business. At a separate, free-standing Town Hall, meetings of the City Council, Planning Commission and other advisory committees are held, as well as community events.
Single-story and low-slung, the sandstone-colored City Hall sits beneath a gently-sloping roof supported by exposed, heavy timbers which you can see here. A breezeway connects the building to a glass and wood-sided Town Hall, which is crowned by a multi-angular, glass-and-timber cupola.
Tucked beneath Camino del Mar between 10th and 11th streets, the complex is designed to protect public views and maximize public access for gatherings, the Saturday farmers market and enjoyment of the plaza and viewing decks.
The landscaping, as you can check out here, includes drought-tolerant plants, Monterey cypress and Torrey pine trees and artificial turf.
“We focused on forming well-scaled outdoor spaces,” said architect Mike Jobes of the Miller Hull Partnership.
The space beneath the buildings and plaza is dedicated to parking. The underground garage includes 141 spaces, charging stations for electric vehicles and room for visitors to the stores and restaurants of downtown Del Mar.
As visitors mingled during the dedication event, Jobes described some of the center’s environmentally-friendly features: natural ventilation, minimal light pollution, low-flow plumbing fixtures, eco-friendly materials and deep overhangs to reduce heat gain. A photovoltaic and battery-storage system, funded by a California Energy Commission grant, is to be installed soon.
During their remarks, speakers celebrated the accomplishment of completing the 20-month-long construction project, a planning effort that took much longer and the itinerant history of Del Mar city hall.
Del Mar incorporated in 1959. At that time, the first City Council met in the billiard room at Hotel Del Mar. The next stops for city offices were a one-room space above the Speedee Mart on Maiden Lane, a storefront now used for a surf shop on 15th Street and at last, in 1972, to 1050 Camino del Mar, to a building that opened in 1921 as an elementary school. That building was razed to make way for the new Civic Center.
“This is the first time the City Council is meeting in a place built to serve as a City Hall,” Councilman Dave Druker said.
The Civic Center, Councilwoman Ellie Haviland said, “will serve as the cornerstone of our local democratic process.”
While acknowledging local leaders, Councilman Terry Sinnott said that a community effort brought the civic center to completion.
“The journey to get to this point today did not happen overnight,” Sinnott said.
Councilwoman Sherryl Parks praised the center’s designers and contractors.
“We’ve been hearing over and over again about this beautiful, new facility and how well it fits with our community,” she said.
During his remarks, City Manager Scott Huth told residents that the new civic center belonged to them.
“It’s here for you,” Huth said, “and we’re here to serve you.”