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Construction zone at council chambers

$475K makeover will bring space up to ADA standards

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Construction zone at council chambers

A worker with Diede Construction pulls open the blinds to the Manteca City Council chambers as demo and construction began on the space.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED November 29, 2013 12:32 a.m.

Attending Manteca City Council meetings is about to become easier for handicapped residents.

Diede Construction of Woodbridge crews are gutting the Manteca Civic Center council chambers built in the 1980s as part of a $475,300 project to bring the chambers up to the latest American Disabilities Act standards.

It will require the next council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. to take place at the nearby Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane.

The project involves a major make-over of the floors and the entrances to make sure those in wheelchairs and with other handicaps can easily and safely access the chambers.

The slope in the chambers will be eliminated and replaced with a level floor.

Instead of two entrances — one of the west side and the other on the east side — there will be one main entrance.

It will be created on the southern side of the building. It will require removing glass display cases inside the council chambers as well as the existing planter outside the building. A glass encased lobby will be created with access from either the east or west.

The new entrance will include wider doors that open automatically with a push of a button.

The existing doors will be sealed off to allow for storage as well as a new high-low water fountain to accommodate the handicapped.

An access ramp complete with handrail will lead to the dais to accommodate staff members or elected leaders who may be handicapped. That will require the dais to be moved forward slightly. The council and staff seating will be reconfigured into more of a U-shape as a result of the exterior improvements. That includes making changes at the bus stop on Center Street in front of the Civic Center complex.

Improvements are also being made to the parking lot with access ramps and handrails installed plus appropriate signage.

When combined with the technology upgrades and paperless agenda management system that has been partially finished, the cost of the overall upgrade will top $700,000.

Some $819,000 has been budgeted for the project. That includes $294,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds that that can be spent on making public facilities handicapped accessible. The balance is being covered using public facilities fees collected from growth.

The outdated 25-year-old sound system was replaced earlier this year.

State-of-the-art video equipment has been put in place to enhance the cable presentation as well as the live streaming over the Internet of meetings. Stationary cameras are being used instead of ones that must be moved to allow for one operator to effectively run the entire system and provide proper feed to cable and web audiences.

 Five multi-media screens have been installed for council and the audience to follow along with visual presentations. Staff is still working on a system to allow the council and staff to follow agenda reports on items being discussed using laptops or tablets.

Plans called for wiring areas outside the chambers in hallways to allow overflow crowds to listen and see what is going on inside. In the past such as during the cantankerous meetings over the Big League Dream sports complex when it was originally proposed for Woodward Park as many as 70 people had to try to follow what was going on inside by crowding around one TV monitor set up in the open hallway.

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