Rancho Santa Fe Covenant Club Design Committee takes first look at schematic design for proposed facility


The Covenant Club Design Committee got its first look at the schematic design for the proposed facility at its Dec. 15 meeting, from the architecture to where chaise lounges and cabanas will be located on the pool deck. The architects expressed a desire to have the new facility complement the existing Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club and Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club as much as possible.

As adequate parking to serve the proposed new 12,500-square-foot club, as well as the existing uses, has been a concern of many residents, architects have moved forward designing the club with a 300-stall parking lot.

Covenant Club Design Committee Chair Jerry Yahr said that the RSF Association staff continues to do a parking study on the campus, taking counts four times a day so by the time the work is complete they will have nine months of parking data.

The peak high since Nov. 24 was on Dec. 1, when 153 of the 195 spaces were occupied at 6 p.m. (this was during the club’s holiday boutique) and the low was Dec. 2 at 8:30 a.m. when 27 stalls were taken. The highest parking day in the last few months was 190 stalls taken in August during the club’s Clambake Tournament.

Ian Morris, principal of GroundLevel Landscape Architecture, talked about the new parking lot design with enhanced decorative retaining walls and landscaping that provides a sense of arrival to the campus clubs — the golf club has its own roundabout entry and a new roundabout entry will be built leading into the Covenant Club and RSF Tennis Club.

“The design captures all of the existing parking and reconsiders how it can be laid out,” Morris said, noting the maximum they could fit in would be 320 full-size stalls.

The equestrian trail will feature an enhanced crossing and a pedestrian pathway will link from the upper parking lot all the way down. The highest parking lot wall will be 6 feet high to retain the grade.

The club is entered on the first story under a loggia and from the entry, people can look down across the pool and through to the scenic fairway.

“With the architectural character of the building, we really tried to be respectful and very much in sync with the existing buildings of the club today and the community,” said architect Jim Gabriel of Hanna Gabriel Architects.

The buildings will feature the same colors, details around the doors and windows, and textured, tiled roofs.

The entrance leads into the reception area, kids’ club and men’s and women’s locker rooms (each with its own steam room). An elevator and stairways lead down to the second level and people can choose to directly enter the pool area or use a separate pathway to reach the café, two separate fitness studios and the main cardio and strength studio.

The resort pool has four lap lanes and an area for activities such as water aerobics. The architects have played with different shapes for the pool, but the committee recommended a shape that maximizes the pool space, advising taking out a large patio palm tree in favor of more pool.

Cabanas line the edge of the pool patio and the café will feature outdoor covered seating and walk-up ordering from the pool. The café will be linked to both the RSF Golf Club and RSF Tennis Club users via pathways, and an outdoor courtyard on the side with a potential outdoor fireplace and fountains will serve as a nice place for friends to meet for coffee, Morris said.

A splash pad for children is located as far away from the other uses as possible and nearby is five family-stall restrooms.

The committee liked how the kid-uses were all located in one corner so kids are not a central focus, making the space more comfortable for all users. However, committee member Dottie Mulholland wanted to ensure that pool activities respected the tranquility of the golf course.

“My concern is that all of the noise is pushed toward the first tee box,” Mulholland said.

Morris said that the fitness center building between the course and the pool should help trap the noise. Landscaping would help block the view of the club.

“We would try to keep as much planting adjacent to the fairway [as possible],” Morris said. “The goal is to keep as much of that buffer as there is today.”

Committee member Bruce Kleege voiced concerns about the spa being so close to the splash pad, saying that location nearly guarantees that the spa will be used a lot by kids, possibly deterring adult use.

There is a quiet space between the two studios that Morris said had been planned for an outdoor fireplace and lounge, but the committee members requested that the space be used for an adult hot tub, separate from the one by the splash pool.

Yahr said the geotechnical studies on the site are expected to be complete by January. The geotechnical contract was recently finalized and investigative work, such as taking samples for soil type and water percolation, will be conducted within the final weeks of December.

A “fully realistic” site model is also being prepared by Hanna Gabriel Architects, which will show the building as well as the existing golf club and tennis club buildings to accurately portray how the whole campus will look. The model is expected to be complete by February.

The goal is for as much information as possible to be available before the Covenant Club goes to a community-wide vote.