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Less space, more room in chambers

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POSTED February 7, 2014 1:43 a.m.

The remodel of the Manteca City Council Chambers dictated by significant changes in federal and state handicap access laws since it was first built in the 1980s has increased the capacity of the Manteca Civic Center meeting facility.

The burnt orange padded seats for the audience that were bolted to the floor had to be removed. That’s because the latest American Disabilities Act rules now require public meeting places to be flexible enough with seating to accommodate large numbers of handicapped individuals in wheelchairs if needed.

That led to the use of stackable chairs that can be hooked to each other to form rows.

And while the remodel required a new council dais for handicapped access that ate up more space in the council chambers, the room can now accommodate more community members.

Previously 83 people could be seated with perhaps another 50 standing. City Clerk Joann Tilton said the capacity is now higher than that for seating and is rated as much as 236 if all of the chairs were removed and the chambers was switched to standing room only. It helps that the chairs aren’t as bulky as the ones that were replaced.

And if there are overflow crowds, the building has been wired to not only have sound in  the outside hallways but also allow the rolling out a TV so those outside can see what is going on inside.

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