By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
Rancho Bernardans will likely welcome in two more New Year’s Days before a sign welcoming those entering the community is erected.
According to a city staff memo, the pre-design phase has concluded for the welcome sign that will be built on a Rancho Bernardo Road median near The Mercado.
The phase included determining an estimated cost and project timeline. The estimated completion date is January 2014.
The memo, presented to Rancho Bernardo Maintenance Assessment District committee members at their Nov. 5 meeting, lists an estimated cost of $1,661 for the planning (pre-design) stage, $9,877 for the design stage and $38,462 for construction. The three elements combined total $50,000.
With $10,000 from the insurance settlement received after an August 2009 vehicle accident that destroyed the more than 40-year-old sign and $45,367 set aside from MAD fees to replace the sign that was already badly in need of repair, there is more than enough to cover the project’s costs.
If no unplanned costs arise by the project’s conclusion, there will be $5,367 remaining that can be redesignated for other RB MAD projects.
As for the project’s schedule estimate, the six-month design phase is scheduled to end in April 2013, the project will be advertised for bids and the contract awarded between May and October 2013, and construction is tentatively set to occur between November 2013 and January 2014.
The sign will be built as closely as possible to a design crafted by a six-member committee and approved by the Rancho Bernardo Planning Board, Community Council and MAD committee last spring. It was the latest effort in finding an acceptable design after a previous volunteer committee’s attempts could not receive support from the board, council and MAD committee. Multiple rounds of online voting had occurred in an attempt to gauge design aspects supported by residents, but the endeavor ended up surrounded by controversy and contention.
The design that finally received the needed support is based upon materials “that would have been available when Rancho Bernardo was a working rancho,” said John Woods, who was on the final sign committee.
“The materials at hand would have been stacked field stone, white washed adobe brick and wrought iron metal,” Woods said last March. “The sign would have been simple, without added artifacts or elements.”
The design calls for slightly tapered columns faced with stacked stone on each side. Mortar is not to be used. The columns are to be capped with natural stone. Included are to be wrought iron horse rings, a nod to the time when horses were common in the area.
The sign face is to have elastomeric stucco, which allows the surface to adjust to temperature variations. Its lettering — only the RB logo and words “Rancho Bernardo” — is be wrought iron and rise off the sign face that is illuminated via flood lighting on the logo and a strip light on the community’s name.
Lettering is to be on both sides.
Woods said the committee’s goal “was to bring the community a welcome sign that was reflective of the heritage of Rancho Bernardo. It needed to have a fresh look, but not be a hostage to current trends.
“We wanted a sign that could have been here from the 1960s, but still looked good in 2012,” he said. “The goal was to create a sign that one could imagine existed before the roads, yet stood the test of time. It needed to be honest in its use of material and structure, yet simple in its presentation.”