County of Marin - News Releases - Civic Center Roof Replacement

For Immediate Release
September 26, 2017

Civic Center Roof Replacement Moves Forward

Board of Supervisors awards $17.8 million construction contract

San Rafael, CA – The 55-year-old  Marin County Civic Center will have its iconic roof replaced starting next year. On September 26, the Marin County Board of Supervisors awarded a $17,842,799 contract to Arntz Builders, Inc., a Novato-based company, to handle the construction project.

In a view from above the Civic Center, construction workers assess the deteriorating roof.The blue membrane of the Civic Center roof is fracturing, peeling, leaking and fading.

The new roof will be one of the largest construction projects on the Civic Center since it was built in the 1960s. Not accounting for inflation, the Civic Center’s Administration Wing and Hall of Justice originally cost approximately $14.6 million to construct.

Designed by the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright, the 470,168-square-foot building is the largest completed public project of the architect’s career and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The building is characterized by a concrete roof with distinctive blue coating and stylized ornamentation. Dating to the original construction more than 50 years ago, the roof now has four layers of recoating and patchwork. Despite roof repair projects in 1999 and 2000, the membrane is fracturing and peeling, resulting in leaks and substantial fading of the iconic color.

In 2015, the Marin County Department of Public Works (DPW) sought the expertise of independent architectural specialists at Wiss Janney Elstner Associates, Inc., to assess the roof. They determined that repairs were no longer a solution and the 220,000 square foot roof needed to be replaced to preserve the historic building.

Installing the new roof will require removal of all the old material and application of a new polyurethane membrane. The new system will be durable, resistant to fire and high winds, easy to maintain and includes a comprehensive 20-year warranty. The membrane material is expected to increase the safety and longevity of Wright’s creation. Through extensive testing, the membrane has shown significant color stability and should maintain the historic building’s look for decades to come.

“We have meticulously researched and planned this project over the past two years, and we are confident that this new material is the ideal choice for this architectural landmark,” said Patrick Zuroske, DPW Capital Projects Division Manager. “This is a sizable undertaking and there’s a long road of hard work ahead.”

The project is expected to begin in spring 2018 and will initially focus on the southernmost section of the Civic Center, which consists of the Administration Wing and the library dome, and then expand to the Hall of Justice. After roofing is complete, DPW intends to refurbish the skylights as a separate project.

The project is being funded by the County’s Capital Improvements Fund. The County’s Department of Finance raised the necessary money by refinancing Certificates of Participation, which are essentially bonds for municipal and government agencies, in 2015 when market conditions were favorable. 


Patrick Zuroske
Facilities Planning and Development Manager
Department of Public Works

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 304
San Rafael, CA 94913
(415) 473-2298
CRS Dial 711
Email: Patrick Zuroske
DPW Website