T.O. plans to upgrade Civic Arts Plaza security

The Thousand Oaks City Council has authorized the city to solicit bids to upgrade security at the Civic Arts Plaza by installing vertical steel posts in the ground at strategic points outside the complex.
Were definitely not on Al-Qaedas top-10 list, Thousand Oaks Facilities Manager Elizabeth Perez said in a presentation to the council at its meeting Tuesday night at the complex. But, she noted, in 2008 a man threatened to drive his tractor-trailer into the structure, which houses both Thousand Oaks City Hall and the Bank of America Performing Arts Center.

Security experts, she said, consider the complex to be a soft target because it has none of the posts, known as bollards, to defend it against vehicle attacks.

There is an inherent possibility for potential domestic and random threats at the Civic Arts Plaza due to the nature of its use as a center of government and a large regional theater, according to a written report Perez prepared for the council.

Following her presentation, the council voted 4-0 to green-light the solicitation of bids for the bollards and accompanying security lighting. Councilwoman Claudia Bill-de la Peña was absent.

Besides beefing up security at the complex, the bollards and lighting will also increase pedestrian safety at the complex, the report stated.

The project is estimated to cost between $150,000 and $300,000, part of which will be offset by a $50,000 Homeland Security grant.

The security upgrade calls for retractable hydraulic bollards to be installed at the lowest entry point to the vehicle turn-around area in front of the complexs parking structure. Fixed bollards will be installed at the circular top of the turn-around area near the entrance to the Fred Kavli Theater and in front of the second floor entrance to City Hall, which is wide enough for a car to drive onto.

The turn-around will be closed to regular vehicles during business hours, but it will be open during evening and weekend performances for elderly and disabled patrons.

The winning bid is expected to be awarded in April with construction tentatively scheduled to begin in May and completed in August.

By installing security bollards ... the city is taking a proactive step to protect the citys citizens, employees, and critical assets against security threats and increase safety of pedestrians, Perezs report stated.
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