Carson City Community Center’s Sierra Room undergoing upgrades
January 14, 2019
Soon, anyone attending a public meeting in the Carson City Community Center's Sierra Room may not see a difference but they'll certainly hear it.
The busy room's decades-old audio and video equipment is being replaced during the three weeks between the Jan. 17 and Feb. 7 Board of Supervisors meetings.
"We have complaints about the sound. The microphones are from the '60s and parts for them are no longer available," said Eric von Schimmelmann, chief information officer. "When I took over the function I knew everything was outdated."
That was in 2015, when Carson City assumed the task of recording and broadcasting the city's public meetings, which until then had been done under contract with the Brewery Arts Center.
Since then, von Schimmelmann has been saving what budget money he can each year.
"I knew the project was roughly $250,000, and then in the middle of a board meeting Supervisor Lori Bagwell asked what I needed," said von Schimmelmann, and the remaining $110,000 was allocated during the budget process last year.
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Last month, the board approved a $205,343.73 contract with CCS Presentation Systems for the project.
The room's microphones are being replaced with wireless mics that can be remotely turned on and off and their volume bumped up or down.
The room's two speakers in the front of the room will be replaced by 18 small speakers installed throughout the ceiling, which should significantly improve the sound for people sitting inside as well as those watching on cable or online. The room's cameras are also being changed out for smaller, less visible equipment.
A projector screen will be swapped out for two, 75-inch screen TVs, one placed on a wall visible to the audience and another on a wall near the dais, with presentations such as PowerPoint slides used during meetings displayed there.
Some of the most significant changes won't be seen by most visitors. The small room in the back where Keith Barnett, audio video technician, operates the cameras and other equipment is being overhauled. Currently, the room is filled with equipment and wires, and heats up uncomfortably. As part of the project, a door is being installed between that room and a storage room on the other side of the wall and the bulk of the new equipment put into half the storage room.
Some of the remaining money budgeted for the project will be used for that construction as well as for buying new equipment for the meetings' broadcast on Charter Communications' Spectrum cable.
"It should be better quality on the web site and on the government channel broadcast, too," said von Schimmelmann.
In the meantime, if you're headed to a public meeting in late January, check the calendar at the Carson City web site. Most of the scheduled meetings will be held in the Community Center's Bonanza Room. The IT department is working to set up a broadcast, but each meeting will be recorded and available for replay by the following day.