San Rafael, CA -- A major renovation of the path of travel to the South Arch entrance of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Marin County Civic Center Administration Building will get under way in November as part of the County of Marin’s ongoing commitment to improve the accessibility for persons with disabilities to all its programs, services and facilities.
Access to the main escalator/elevator entrance at the South Arch will be impacted for a month or more, according to County Principal Engineer Patrick Echols. County employee and visitors may at times be detoured from the escalator/elevator entrance to the stair well on the south side of the South Arch. People with disabilities or otherwise needing elevator service will be detoured to park and enter the building through the Hall of Justice (HOJ), otherwise known as the Middle Arch, during construction. Employees will be encouraged to use the HOJ entrance to avoid the South Arch construction area.
Vehicle access through the South Arch also will be restricted during construction to allow for replacement of the roadway surface.
Much of the work will be scheduled during fall and winter holidays (weather permitting) to reduce inconveniences.
The new South Arch improvements will include additional accessible parking and accessible routes to the South Arch entrance, including a crosswalk raised to match the height of adjacent sidewalks, new passenger loading areas that will improve book dropoffs for the library and other safety enhancements. Plans for the project, designed by Danadjieva Hansen Architects Inc. of Tiburon, were approved by the Marin County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 17.
The Marin County Civic Center, built between 1959-1962, is a National Historic Landmark, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center Conservancy is continuing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civic Center through October 2013. Because of the historical designation of the building, special attention has been made to ensure that improvements maintain the integrity of the original design.
The Disability Access Program and the Department of Public Works Capital Projects Division have applied a “universal design” approach to the project. The term "universal design" was coined by the architect Ronald L. Mace to describe the concept of designing all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability or status in life. It is the same approach the County used to create the new plaza entry to the Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium and accessibility to Children’s Island at the Marin County Fairgrounds.
Construction is estimated to cost $450,000 and will be funded by County’s Capital Improvement Program. The project should be completed by February 2014.