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Handicap access costing $475K
Manteca council chamber changes include leveling floor
CHAMBERS4 1-24-13
City Clerk Joann Tilton inside the Manteca City council chambers that will be getting an American Disabilities Act makeover. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Manteca’s council chambers could get a new look by early 2014.

Elected leaders Tuesday are expected to award a bid for $475,300 to bring the chambers up to the latest American Disabilities Act standards.

It will involve 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 also will be made to the parking lot with access ramps and handrails installed plus appropriate signage.

Diede Construction of Woodbridge was the low bidder coming in at $124,000 less than BoBo Construction of Elk Grove.

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The outdated 25-year-old sound system was replaced earlier this year.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

When the council chambers were put into use in the mid-1980s the facility complied with American Disabilities Act rules in place at that time.

The interior work on the chambers is planned for December and January when furloughs reduce use of the Civic Center plus there are less public meetings scheduled. The council and city commissions would meet elsewhere at that time possible at either the Manteca Senior Center or the community meeting room at the transit center.

The council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.