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November 23. 2012 8:00PM

Technology upgrades recommended for Nashua City Hall

NASHUA - Technological advancements have come a long way in recent years, prompting city officials to consider some modern upgrades to the aldermanic chambers at Nashua City Hall.

This week, the aldermanic Finance Committee supported a proposal to eliminate outdated equipment and replace it with a new, digital audio visual system.

The committee voted to spend $58,330 on the technology improvements. Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said the plan includes installing a permanent projector so that a portable unit no longer needs to be rolled in and out of the aldermanic chambers for presentations.

A new sound system will also be installed. It will include several USB ports throughout the aldermanic horseshoe table and a master control panel for a new, ceiling-mounted projector screen at the front of the room, according to Lozeau.

"As it is vital that the Government Channel provides quality broadcasts of all meetings and events in the City Hall aldermanic chamber, the reason for this project is to address some of the outdated equipment presently used that is not capable of utilizing the many digital formats presently available for multimedia presentations, and relocating the central processing station for the chamber audio, which is currently in an inaccessible location, as well as being outdated," said a memo to Lozeau and the Finance Committee. City officials have recommended work be conducted by Red Thread of Manchester.

The scope of work includes a new monitor and touch panel on the clerk's desk, extended speaker wires, two new wireless microphones and one handheld microphone, installation of remote antennas, new cabling, new amplifier, new voice reinforcement digital signal processors and more. After concerns were raised about outdated technology at City Hall, a Technology Use Assessment Ad Hoc Committee was formed about a year ago, chaired by Alderman-at-Large Barbara Pressly.

This week, Pressly stressed that the $58,000 for the upgrades will not be paid with taxpayer money, but rather through cable and television user fees. While the committee has been studying possible upgrades to the room, Pressly said, this recommendation had previously been made by other groups, including the city's Information Technology Division and CTAB Advisory Board.

Her committee, said Pressly, is seeking a complete analysis of the entire aldermanic room. Lozeau explained that a consultant will still come in and perform some additional work to determine what else could be beneficial in the chamber. Future technology upgrades are also being considered for the City Hall auditorium and the lecture hall at Nashua High School North.

Other improvements at City Hall recently approved by aldermen include a $165,000 renovation to the Elm Street entrance and lobby, city clerk's counter and city clerk's office, in addition to major upgrades to the building's HVAC systems and about $116,000 in new carpeting.

khoughton@newstote.com

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