County of Marin - News Releases - Civic Center Roof

For Immediate Release
March 14, 2019

Civic Center Roof Work Progresses to Hall of Justice

Two-year project to rehabilitate iconic roof enters next phase of construction

San Rafael, CA – The two-year construction project to rehabilitate the historic Marin County Civic Center roof is entering the second year of work. Having completed construction on the southern wing and library dome, the project will progress to the northern wing on Monday, March 18.

A view of the Civic Center roof from a the perspective of a construction worker standing on the roof.The roof replacement project, overseen by the Marin County Department of Public Works, is on schedule and on budget.
While the library dome and southern wing, generally referred to as the Administration Wing, are now sporting the iconic “Marin Blue” color, an expanse of white fabric will partially cover the northern section of the roof for the duration of the construction phase. The enclosure material will attach to the scaffolding that was recently installed along the northern half of the building, also known as the Hall of Justice. The protective enclosure is for public safety and designed to stop debris, work dust and other particulate materials from leaving the construction area. Measuring from the roof’s overhang, the protective material will reach eight feet high.

Removal of all the old roofing material and application of the new polyurethane membrane will be conducted in alternating sections. While one section is undergoing the removal process, a previously exposed section will have the new roofing material installed. For efficiency, a variety of removal methods ranging from pressure washing to hammer and chisel will be utilized.

The project, overseen by the Marin County Department of Public Works, is on schedule and on budget. Weather permitting, the roof replacement for the Hall of Justice is expected to be completed by spring 2020. While this will mark the completion of the roof replacement project, DPW intends to refurbish the building’s skylights as a separate project in summer 2020.

The new roofing 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 the iconic building. Through extensive testing, the membrane has shown significant color stability and should maintain the historic building’s look for years to come.

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 Civic Center is characterized by a concrete roof with distinctive blue coating and stylized ornamentation. Dating to the original construction more than 55 years ago, the current roof has four layers of recoating and patchwork. Despite several repair projects over the years, the membrane is fracturing and peeling, resulting in leaks and substantial fading of the color.

In 2015, DPW sought the expertise of independent architectural specialists at Wiss Janney Elstner Associates, Inc., to assess the roof. The company determined that repairs were no longer a solution and the 220,000-square-foot roof needed to be replaced to preserve the historic building.

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.

In September 2017, the Marin County Board of Supervisors awarded a $17,842,799 contract to Arntz Builders, Inc., a Novato-based company, to direct the project. Rainbow Waterproofing and Restoration Company, which specializes in historically significant landmarks, is handling the removal of the old roof and the construction of the new one.

The project is being funded by the Capital Improvements Fund. The County’s Department of Finance raised the necessary money by refinancing Certificates of Participation, which essentially are 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