Work is expected to start later this week on security renovations to O’Fallon City Hall, which will mean that council meetings will move next month and be displaced for a short time.
“Work will probably go through June,” Mayor Herb Roach said.
City Council meetings will move to the Public Safety Building, starting May 7. However, other committee meetings might be held there earlier.
No other offices or operations will be affected, Roach said.
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Upgrades are planned for the council chambers and front lobby areas to improve security, audio/visual functions, and space flexibility.
“It’s unfortunate that you have to think about taking these types of safety precautions, but it is better to be safe than sorry,” Roach said.
Roach said the city was advised that this was in the its best interest. He considered it “one ounce of prevention instead of a pound of sorrow” if they did not listen to the advice.
“I hope that we are never the beneficiary of these changes, but it is better to be prepared than to look back after the fact and say, ‘I wish we had taken the advice we were given, then maybe no one would have been hurt,” he said.
When the 14 aldermen, mayor, city clerk and city attorney return to council chambers, they will all be able to sit on the dais. Because of O’Fallon’s seven wards, each represented by two aldermen, there had only been room for 10, and usually the newly elected ones, had to sit at tables below the council platform. Up to 18 will be able to sit in a row once the work is complete.
Millennium Construction is handling demolition and construction, while Modern Communications is installing broadcast, presentation, audio/visual and broadcast scheduling equipment, and will provide training.
The replacement system includes cameras, microphones and audio control hardware and software. The technology upgrades mean that the meetings will be publicly broadcast in higher quality.
The cost, with bids approved at the April 2 council meeting, is $202,893.32. That includes $150,257 to Millennium Construction, $37,881 to Modern Communications Inc. and $14,755.32 to Egyptian Workspace Partners for furniture for chambers and front desk area.