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December 05. 2013 7:54PM

Nashua City Hall getting a technology makeover

NASHUA — New technology and media units will be installed in the auditorium of Nashua's City Hall in the next few weeks, improvements that will greatly benefit how city meetings are conducted, according to the mayor.

"We have come a long way, but there is still more to do. We need to do this," Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said of the auditorium upgrades that were approved Wednesday by the aldermanic Finance Committee.

The panel approved $86,259 in technology upgrades for the public meeting room. Access AV of Concord will be performing the work, which includes the installation of a new media presentation system controller with a wireless touch panel that controls all devices in the auditorium.

Other improvements include two television monitors — one that will face the audience and one that will be directed to the representatives sitting on the stage of the auditorium, according to Lozeau.

"This will help make the auditorium more conducive to see and hear the land use meetings. Right now, it is not always easy to hear everybody who is speaking," said Lozeau, noting there is not an easy way to display maps or blueprints so that audience members can see the necessary documents.
The LED monitors are designed to fix that problem, said Lozeau, adding a 25-channel audio system with 15 wireless microphones and nine wired microphones will be installed.

A digital audio mixer and four remotely controlled high definition broadcast cameras are also going to be implemented, according to the plans.

"Our hope is to have this done by the end of the year — that is what we are hoping," said the mayor. "First we need to get the equipment in, so I would say the latest it would be completed would be by the end of January."

Other improvements have already been finished inside of the auditorium, including new carpeting, skylights and tables. Lozeau said she would still like to add new lighting within the meeting room, which may be addressed in the new year.The $86,259 in technology upgrades is being spent from the city's government and educational channels budget, said Lozeau, noting it is mostly capital money and franchise fees.

Meanwhile, plans are progressing to renovate the aldermanic chambers at Nashua City Hall as well. Lozeau said she has been working with Brian McCarthy and Lori Wilshire of the Board of Aldermen to identify design firms that specialize in municipal meeting rooms.

"All of the systems are going to high definition, and you have to have a supported system," Lozeau said of the necessary technology upgrades and other changes being recommended to improve the layout of the aldermanic chambers.

Currently, it is challenging to see everyone talking during aldermen meetings because of the desk design, which is in the shape of a horse-shoe, said Lozeau. Advice is being sought on how to improve the layout of the room to make it more visible to the public and elected officials, she said.Furthermore, new electronic tablets will be ordered in January for members of the Board of Aldermen once the aldermen-elect are sworn into office, said Lozeau. This initiative was spearheaded by McCarthy, president of the Board of Aldermen, to eliminate the need for numerous paper copies of agendas and related documents.
khoughton@newstote.com


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