Marin Center Undergoes Seismic Upgrades

While in-person events and indoor gatherings are becoming more frequent in the North Bay, no events will take place in the Marin Center’s Exhibit Hall, adjacent meeting rooms, the Bartolini Gallery, and the Showcase Theater for the better part of a year.

That’s because the center’s exhibit hall building is scheduled to begin seismic-related construction in mid-August to improve the popular public facility’s resiliency and safety in the case of an earthquake.

“These facilities provide an important cultural space for our whole community, and we want to make sure they are safe and sound for many years to come,” Gabriella Calicchio, Director of Cultural Services, says in a statement.

Overseen by the Marin County Department of Public Works, the safety improvements will significantly reduce risk in a major earthquake by installing additional wall anchors, cross ties, and support girders to strengthen the roof-to-wall connections.

The safety initiative is primarily funded by a $1.5 million grant from the California Department of Emergency Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The state and federal grant was accepted by the Marin County Board of Supervisors on July 20, and the County will cover the remaining $500,000 of the project budget. 

The construction is expected to take 10 months, targeting a June 2022 completion. Following that, The 2,001-seat Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium–Marin County’s largest indoor performance space–will receive seismic upgrades starting in August 2022. Funding for that effort will be from the same sources as the upcoming Exhibit Hall project.

The Marin County Civic Center, a national historic landmark, was designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, while the exhibit hall and Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium were designed by Aaron Greene and others at Wright’s famed Taliesin architecture school.

Owned and operated by the county, the exhibit hall is a destination during Marin County Fairs and typically hosts events year-around, yet it has been used during the pandemic for a variety of emergency response needs.

Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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