One of the most important responsibilities of government is to provide emergency response services to residents during and after a disaster. Marin County’s new Emergency Operations Facilityin San Rafael, which will have its public debut on May 10, will allow emergency response services remain operational in the event of a major earthquake.
Sheriff-Coroner Robert T. Doyle will join other elected officials and dignitaries during the 1:30 p.m. May 10 grand opening ceremony at 1600 Los Gamos Drive in San Rafael, just west of Highway 101 in the Terra Linda area. More than 150 personnel from the Sheriff’s Office will be relocated about 2 miles north from the Marin County Civic Center into the Los Gamos building in May, June and July.
“I am proud of the building, which is the result of thousands of hours of staff time spent over the past two years to ensure a modern and open work environment that focuses on enhancing opportunities for collaboration and improved delivery of services,” Doyle said.
Also, the County’s Information Services and Technology (IST) Department will have a dozen data center employees working in the 118,000 square feet of useable workspace. Later, several other divisions from IST, the Department of Public Works, and Health and Human Services will relocate to the building.
The County purchased 41-year-old building in December 2011 for $28,425,000 and made $50,800,000 in improvements over the past two years to assure that the upgraded structure would meet essential service standards after a major earthquake. Improvement costs included new purchases such as 911 call center radio equipment, data centers and server technology, interior redesign, furniture, structural alterations and seismic upgrades.
“For the first time, infrastructure and technology that is critical to the safety of the entire county will be housed in a seismically safe building designed specifically for that purpose,” Doyle said. “What we hope to gain from this important investment is the ability to manage and respond to all manner of emergency events from a centralized location specifically constructed for that important purpose.”
In keeping with the County of Marin Board of Supervisors’ sustainability goals, the building renovation is on track for Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Water conservation measures include the use of reclaimed water for the major uses in the building including the cooling towers used for cooling office spaces. In addition, a 463-kilowatt AC (518 kilowatt DC) photovoltaic array is being installed on the roof, fulfilling the Countywide General Plan goal of 1 megawatt of photovoltaic panels on County facilities ahead of a 2015 self-imposed deadline.
The building, known by many as part of the Marin Commons complex, previously was home to Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company and several other occupants. Marin County Administrator Matthew Hymel said buying and renovating the 1600 Los Gamos building cost the County much less than constructing a new emergency operations complex previously planned near Lagoon Park at the Civic Center.
“There is a lot to celebrate,” Hymel said. “We had a longstanding goal to have an emergency operations center that could withstand a major earthquake. We bought the building when it was really a good time to buy. The project came in on time and on budget, so overall we’re very pleased.”
After 152 Sheriff-Coroner personnel and 12 IST employees get settled at the Emergency Operations Facility, the County plans to bring in another 150-170 County employees from other departments over the next several years. Extra spaces will be rented to generate funds that would be considered a bonus to the County budget.
The County owns 44 facilities, including the Marin County Civic Center, a National Historic Landmark designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Overall, the County owns about 1.4 million square feet of space.
The grand opening at 1600 Los Gamos is open to the public. A limited number of guided tours will be provided to guests after the ceremony.
For information about leasing space at 1600 Los Gamos Drive, contact Steven Leonard or Brian Foster of the Cassidy Turley commercial real estate company at 415-451-2434.