Facility Planning and Development

Matthew H. Hymel, County Administrator

The Facility Planning and Development Division (FPD) works with several County departments to provide long term strategic planning of County facilities to address current and future space requirements. Working primarily with the Capital Division of the Department of Public Works (DPW), the FPD has implemented a Facility Asset Management methodology to assess and manage the life-cycle performance of County-owned assets, to consider the optimal amount of lease space, and to improve the environmental and operational performance of buildings, which reduces the County’s facility-related carbon footprint. The FPD uses this asset management approach to make the most cost effective facility investments to meet the County's Strategic Plan priorities, which emphasizes providing adequate and safe buildings for employees and the public. This work includes facility assessment, budgeting, real estate development, community engagement, maintenance planning, transaction negotiations, acquisitions/dispositions, stakeholder vision planning and project coordination.

In addition, the FPD also serve as staff liaison to the Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center Conservancy Commission. The annual development of the Capital Improvement Program is a coordinated effort between the FPD and DPW. Recently, the FPD has taken on the role of managing County lease negotiations and administration.

The County’s space portfolio contains approximately 1.4 million square feet of owned major facilities and approximately 87,000 square feet of leased facilities. Facilities include the national and state historic landmark Marin County Civic Center designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the recently acquired 1600 Los Gamos Drive, among others. Over the next 10 years, current cost estimates of deferred maintenance or new facility needs will range from $35 to $47 million, including barrier removal projects. Furthermore, the Marin County Fire Department, the Marin County Free Library and the Marin County Parks have additional facility needs not reflected in this amount.

The planning tools and studies that the FPD have developed include,

  • The Capital Improvement Program, which identifies the County's short-term and long-term capital needs.
  • Marin County Civic Center Master Design Guidelines to plan projects for the County’s landmark Marin County Civic Center Campus
  • Fire Facilities Vision Plan, which prioritizes projects for County fire facilities
  • Space Planning Guidelines for County projects

For more information on the above, please see below.


Capital Improvement Program

The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) is a multiyear planning tool to identify and implement the County's short-term and long-term capital needs. The CIP includes acquisitions, additions, improvements, and non-routine maintenance to County-owned facilities and roads that generally equal or exceed $25,000 and have a useful life of at least five years. Capital projects are categorized in one of four service categories: improvements to the County Airport, improvements to County General Fund facilities, flood control/fish passage projects, and maintenance to County roads. CIPs from FY 2006-07 to present are available for download from the list below.

Civic Center Master Design Guidelines

In August 2004, the County of Marin retained the services of Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey (RHAA), landscape architects and environmental planners, to lead the process of creating Master Design Guidelines for the entire 138-acre Civic Center campus, including the Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center building, the Marin Center, and other County facilities. RHAA’s project team included architects Mark Cavagnero Associates; traffic and parking engineers Whitlock & Weinberger Transportation Inc.; lighting designers Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design; and signage designer Kate Keating Associates.

These guidelines are intended to provide a standard for future development and the criteria necessary to protect the architectural character of the site, preserve historic structures and reduce adverse visual effects while relating any new development to the historic context.

The guidelines ensure that future projects in the historic part of the campus will meet the Secretary of the Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and build on the design principles set out by Frank Lloyd Wright. These guidelines also suggest that all future development be designed sustainably in accordance with green building practices.

Marin County Civic Center Master Design Guidelines Index

County of Marin Fire Facilities Vision Plan

The purpose of the Fire Facilities Vision Plan is to provide policy makers with the Fire Department’s long-term vision for their facilities. This planning tool is meant to help prioritize and inform future capital improvement decisions. Given current fiscal conditions, many of these improvements will not be funded in the short term; nonetheless, it is important that policy makers are aware of them for long-term capital planning purposes.

This plan was a collaborative team effort with members of the County Administrative Office, Marin County Fire Department, Marin County Department of Public Works and Beverly Prior Architects. The MCFD Headquarters and Fire Station at Woodacre (Headquarters), Hicks Valley Fire Station, Tomales Fire Station, Pt. Reyes Public Safety Building, both Fire Lookouts and a new Tamalpais Fire Crew facility were the subjects of this study. Marin City and Throckmorton Fire Stations were not studied, as they are facilities constructed within the last 10 years. A summary of key findings are as follows:

  • The Headquarters and the Fire Station at Woodacre, the Tomales Fire Station, and Hicks Valley Fire Station are past their useful life and are recommended to be replaced.
  • The Headquarters including the administration/emergency command center, fire station No. 1, vehicle maintenance and warehouse facilities are recommended to be relocated to a larger site and centrally located within the Marin County service area.
  • The Hick Valley Fire Station is recommended to be relocated to a larger site near its current location.
  • Tomales Fire Station is recommended to be replaced on its existing site.
  • Point Reyes Fire Station is recommended to be seismically upgraded, expanded and a new building added to the site to house the sheriff operations and a community meeting room.
  • Subject to securing on-going funding for services, a future Tamalpais Fire Crew Facility was studied and is recommended to be co-located with one of the existing fire stations if there is enough land. This report has it co-located with Hicks Valley Fire Station and this proposal is subject to land availability and cost verification.
  • A strategy for construction phasing is possible for the Headquarters, Hicks Valley and Tomales facilities.

Space Planning Guidelines

As part of the County’s Facilities Asset Management Program, the County of Marin’s Space Planning Management Guidelines were created to aid all County departments when considering space planning projects. A space planning project is defined as a project involving the remodeling, addition/subtraction or relocation of existing department facilities. The goal of space planning is to assure the highest quality of design, functionality, aesthetics and to create a productive working environment.

General Space Planning Process

Step 1

Each department must submit a Space Planning Request Form.

Step 2

Programming: defined as the research, information gathering and the decision-making process that identifies the scope of work and the project objectives. Information includes number of offices and work stations, functionality, adjacency and operational requirements and other user needs. Note, space plan design is not produced in this step.

Step 3

Feasibility Analysis: After the sign off of the program, analysis will be done to identify available area, funding source(s), space analysis, schedule impacts and other “big picture” factors such as need for temporary relocation, move issues, etc.

Step 4

Preliminary Space Planning Design: Site plans, floor plans, elevations, details, etc. may be developed to articulate the functional layout of the space. Cost estimates may be produced and time schedules determined. The design will be checked for adherence to various design standards. Items such as furniture, telephone, data planning/installation will be considered.

Step 5

Approvals: After department sign off of the preliminary space plan design, through the recommendation of DPW/CAO, the County Administrator ultimately approves the design, funding and gives authorization to proceed with detailed design and construction.

Step 6

Detailed design development and construction drawings are produced. Updated cost estimates and schedules are given and verified with the department. At this stage, scope changes and other preliminary design details are not considered.

Step 7

Permitting: After department sign off of construction documents, the necessary building permits will be obtained, if required.

Step 8

Bidding: contractors will submit bids for work and DPW/CAO will issue final award after verification of budget. Change orders (changes made after the bidding process) should be avoided.

Step 9

Construction / temporary relocation and/or move.

Step 10

Move in: This process is general in nature. Other steps may be added or deleted depending on project size and objectives. Depending on the nature of the project, these steps may be done by either County staff or by an outside consultant. Note, once sign-offs are obtained, changes to work will typically involve contract modifications, cost and schedule impacts.

Department Involvement

Each department who submits a Space Planning Request form should have a point of contact that will oversee the project from beginning to end. This person should be knowledgeable of the inner workings of the department and be responsible for information gathering and communication coordination among the user groups, for participation in team meetings and for obtaining needed user group and department head sign offs.

Each department who submits a Space Planning Request form should have a point of contact that will oversee the project from beginning to end. This person should be knowledgeable of the inner workings of the department and be responsible for information gathering and communication coordination among the user groups, for participation in team meetings and for obtaining needed user group and department head sign offs.

Important Questions to Ask

  • Define the user group’s function, purpose and relationship to other County department and the public.
  • Can this group work independently from the department in an offsite location?
  • Are there any funding sources and/or grants that can pay for this project?
  • How many office and work stations are needed? What type of support spaces are needed?
  • What are the critical adjacencies for this work group both within the group and with the department?
  • What other special considerations or equipment needs are there?
  • Do you anticipate that this group will need to be relocated during construction?

Typical Square Footage for Various Spaces

The following is a table of office types and furniture found in a typical office as well as the space that should be planned to accommodate them.

Item Square Footage Required
Work Station 50 - 70
Large Work Station 75 - 90
Office 90 - 110
Department Head Office 200 - 240
Administration Workroom 120 - 140
Small Conference Room 100 - 120

U.S. Flag Protocols at County Facilities

We are asked occasionally regarding flying the United States flag at half-staff. Our long-time policy has been to adhere to federal, state or local mandates. Since it is difficult to make choices among many hard working former or existing employees, we do not lower the flag for the death of current or former County or Court employees. The Board of Supervisors President has discretion on rare occasions to make an exception.