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Smart Analog

Nov 17, 2011 10:12 AM, By Steven Swift

Fort Leavenworth conference upgrade combines high tech with fiscal responsibility.

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Frontier Conference Center

Frontier Conference Center

How do you cost-justify a complete remodeling of a federal facility in these days of trilliondollar deficits? You count your pennies and make sure every penny you spend gives you two cents worth of value. Such was the case at the Frontier Conference Center

(FCC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., which finished a major remodeling in May. Innovative AV systems designed by the Conference Technologies, Inc. (CTI) office in Kansas City ensured that the upgrade was fiscally conservative yet ready for future technologies.

Long overdue

No one could accuse the center’s managers of wasting taxpayers’ money on an unneeded upgrade. Built more than 50 years ago, the center averages 600 events each year involving tens of thousands of participants. It’s used extensively by the garrison for planning meetings, training, and retirement ceremonies, by officers as a social center, on a rental basis by local businesses, and by base personnel for weddings and parties. Soon the Army’s Command and General Staff College will begin using the center for classes and videoconferences.

The facility is now self-supporting. Revenues from room rentals and meals served in the center must pay for all maintenance, personnel costs, and other operating expenses.

“The new systems have definitely made the space much more competitive,” says Brett Wobker, the project manager for the upgrade and an engineer for the Directorate of Logistics at the fort.

Given the demand for meeting space and the potential for income, managers decided in 2010 that a major upgrade was in order. “We replaced the kitchen, upgraded the lighting, electrical, and HVAC, painted, replaced the carpeting, and installed AV systems for the first time,” Wobker explains. The systems are installed in 12 meeting spaces on two floors, including an ABC divisible ballroom with seating for up to 398 people, together with a master control room with centralized equipment racks.

Wobker says the goals for the new AV systems included the ability to show computer and video images in high definition, provide HD videoconferencing connectivity, support meetings and events with multiple presenters, support facility-wide digital signage and paging, and combine any or all of the AV systems into a single system supporting very large meetings and events.

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