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Council Chamber to Temporarily Close for High-Tech Upgrade

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By Lookout Staff

October 2, 2019 -- The Santa Monica City Council will hold its next six meetings at the Civic Auditorium while the council chamber gets a new nearly half-million-dollar audiovisual system.

Construction to install the high-tech system approved by the Council in June is scheduled to take place from October 21 to January 13, City officials said.

Board and Commission meetings normally held in the chamber will also be moved to the east wing of the Civic Auditorium or "other publicly-accessible facilities," according to a plan approved by the City Council last week.

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Staff said it is making arrangements for CityTV to cover the meetings at the Civic Auditorium.

The new $452,750 AV system -- which City officials say meets "the needs of a 21st century city" -- will allow public officials to cast electronic votes and members of the public to sign up to speak using a kiosk in the lobby.

The technology also allows the City Clerk and mayor or meeting chair to view the list of speakers who signed up electronically and display voting results on high-resolution monitors.

In addition, the new system generates automated meeting minutes, has plug-in capabilities for tablets and laptops and integrates the AV system into the CityTV system.

The Civic Auditorium will host the Council meetings scheduled for October 22, November 5 (which is a special meeting), November 12, November 26, December 10 (also a special meeting) and December 17.

When the City Hall chamber was last renovated two decades ago, the Council adopted a resolution similar to the one it approved on September 24.

Once the home of the Academy Awards and legendary rock shows, the Civic Auditorium was closed by the City in June 2013 due to a lack of money for renovations and seismic retrofitting.

The City has traditionally used the east wing of the 61-year-old historic landmark to host public meetings, especially when the council chamber cannot accommodate large crowds.

The City has been working to craft a viable plan to save and renovate the Auditorium.

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