Photo by Marienne Thomas-Ogle
Hoover Municipal Center renovation 2016
The second floor of the Hoover Municipal Center was stripped to create space for new data recovery equipment, an emergency diesel generator and updated work areas that are scheduled to be completed mid-to-late-summer.
The Hoover Municipal Center is undergoing a partial renovation that not only includes updating of security and fire alarm systems, but also installation of equipment to ensure the continuity of the community's technological services in case of an unexpected emergency.
Melinda Lopez, director of the information management and reporting department and leader of the city employee team that helped develop the renovation plan, said the primary focus of the work is on the second floor and is two-fold.
"We're installing a diesel generator there that will be able to operate the entire city hall if there is a power outage," Lopez said. "In addition, there will be a disaster recovery site for data should something happen to the Public Safety Center."
According to Lopez, the Public Safety Center, located on Valleydale Road, is currently "the meat" of the city's live data activity and supports email and phone communication. Electronic records and files for revenue, building services, fire, police, fleet and mapping data are also supported there.
"So the disaster recovery site or redundant data center will give us a fallback for data if the Public Safety Center was affected by a tornado or the like, and the new generator that will let city hall continue to run," she said.
The Municipal Center renovation, of which the redundant data center is the most costly item, is expected to cost $4 million. To some extent, it is impacting each of the building's four floors. The expected completion date is mid-to-late-summer.
Other changes to the second floor include the construction of new conference and training rooms with state-of-the-art audio and visual technology for collaboration and video conferencing capabilities, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible public restrooms, and storage units.
The building's second floor occupants—about 20 employees of the finance, human resources, purchasing, and information management and reporting departments—have "found nooks and crannies" in the Public Safety Center as their temporary homes while the work goes on, Lopez said.
The five members of the third floor city clerk's office staff are working from the building's media and conference room while upgrades are made in their area, Lopez said.
"That work, including paint, millwork and carpet, is a timing priority because they need to be back in place in time for the Aug. 23 election," she said.
Lopez said the city considered renting space or temporary trailers for displaced employees.
"But it was cheaper to fit everyone in our existing facilities and easier for them to connect to our network," she said.
Other changes include the addition of a small first-floor data room to facilitate connection to the redundant data center, and renovation of the elevator and lobby areas on the second and fourth floors.
Mike Ogles, director of the city technology department, said the project, particularly the equipment additions, will greatly benefit Hoover city employees and residents.
"This will ensure that technical services remain available without interruption and ensure functionality in case something happens at either site on the technical side," Ogles said. "There is something good here for everyone because there are so many dependencies on technology in today's world and everyday living."