Government Center auditorium overdue for upgrade

The Barron County Board of Supervisors’ boardroom will get a makeover if the  full board  follows the Executive Committee’s recommendation.

“We are definitely behind the technology curve,” County administrator Jeff French remarked to the committee.

He said the need for improvement has  been obvious at recent board meetings, in which some supervisors attended in-person and some  virtually.

“As County Board members are fully aware, our August County Board meeting held virtually was a disaster, at best,” French said. “To correct this, staff and Chair Okey have met with Audio Architects to discuss and review possible solutions.”

Those options include:

• a fixed array of desks that would allow each member a microphone to speak and speaker to hear. French said fixed tables or desks will save the county untold dollars through the years versus a movable platform.

• a reverse horseshoe setup, meaning the auditorium would be in a horseshoe design with the County Board members looking south into the auditorium seating. French said this design saves the county dollars by only requiring two fixed cameras.

The county administrator said CBS Squared has done other design projects for the auditorium, and they will have something to supervisors in 2 weeks.

He said it is his understanding that the technical costs for this project can be charged to the state’s Roads to Recovery grant program. The actual construction, or reconstruction of physical location would be the county’s cost. He is recommending adjusting the $350,000 in the proposed 2021 Contingency Fund.

French reminded the committee that the county used Audio Architects for technical aspects in the courts and their suggestions have worked flawlessly.

He added, “I will point out that this is the third time in my 20 years at Barron County that it has been recommended to complete substantial infrastructure improvements to the auditorium. The prior two times they have been voted down. I am quite invested in this, and bottom-line is we need to move forward into the 21st Century.”

Chair Louie Okey agreed that the August meeting was “a disgrace, an embarrassment.” He said, “without this our public is deprived of a good rendition of what’s going on.”

Committee member Bun Hanson moved to have CBS Squared and Audio Architects come up with a technology upgrade plan.

(Copyright © 2020 APG Media)

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