East Baton Rouge Metro Council Chambers renovation to begin

Phase two of the Council Chambers renovation will soon begin to bring the dated space into the 21st century rich with technology.

Second phase of Metro Council chambers renovations set to begin

Baton Rouge Business Report

February 8, 2016

RYAN BROUSSARD FEBRUARY 8, 2016

As renovations to the Metro Council chambers in City Hall keep rolling along, workers are set to begin phase two, which will feature across-the-board technological upgrades that will enhance television broadcasting of the meetings.

An item will be introduced at this week’s meeting to appropriate $460,000 from the political, educational and governmental access, or PEG, fees—which are paid through local cable providers—to the current 2016 expense budget for the second half of the project. The council will vote on the item at its Feb. 24 meeting.

Stephanie Rivers, the city-parish’s director of buildings and grounds, says the money will be used to purchase new recording equipment, cameras, microphones and AV equipment through state contracts and to pay Baton Rouge-based Technical Services Group Inc. to perform the installation.

“It’s so important that the city have modern technology to do the TV portion of what we owe the residents so they can see what the metro council does every 2 weeks,” Rivers says. “As television goes digital, our chambers will also be digital.”

The first phase of the renovation—rebuilding the entire chambers and upgrading the council and visitor seating—is ongoing, and Rivers says both phases will happen simultaneously.

Work began on phase one in November. The builders are using commercial-grade materials that are expected to last about 25 to 30 years, Rivers says.

Officials hope to have the project completed by May 31, Rivers says, but 21 extra days are built into the schedule to account for any delays and the council could be back in its normal, yet upgraded, chamber by June or July.

Grace Hebert Architects is in charge of the redesign. See a rendering. The council will convene at 4 p.m. Wednesday in City Hall, 222 St. Louis St. See the full agenda.

—Ryan Broussard