The Art Institute of Chicago , Schools of the Art Institute of Chicago

Inclusive of the original structure and Allerton Library, originally constructed for the 1892 Worlds’ Columbian Exposition (Daniel Burnham, director of Works, et. al.) as well as the rest of the Museum and School. These projects started as a Strategic Planning and Master Planning Program for Information Technology (IT) and Network Strategic and Master Planning for both the Museum and its number one rated art college; The School of the Art Institute (SAIC).  At the beginning of the project, Policy Level management meetings brought forward several major needs and goals that needed to be addressed in our work:

1. Un-reliable infrastructure and instability of the Data Network.

2. The realization that computer technology was being replaced every 5 years for over 3000 users and 2000 students in SAIC with little prior technical and budgetary long term planning in place.

3. Out of date, incompatible special systems with service outage issues.

4. Desire to keep the US News & World Report Rating of Number 1 rated Art School in the US .

5. New applications support of the business, educational, and community outreach could not be implemented with the museum’s current networks. There was a desire for better networks and wireless to support academic, patron, and security applications. Service continuity was an issue also.

6. Data Cyber and Physical Security was less than ideal.

7. With the immediate concern that technology support of major exhibit events had noticeable short falls

 Event ticketing problems and record attendance, with patron lines blocks long for entry and turning people away.

 Security surveillance coverage issues

 Retail event merchandise sales sharply curtailed by an estimated 70% due to long check out times with out of control retail store inventories.

 Web site related development and event support issues.

 Another major exhibit event was set to open in twelve months, which the Museum Trustees wanted to find better supported than its predecessor event.  With equal volumes, the impact of correcting the deficiencies noted of the last exhibit could mean a net increase in Museum funding of $8,000,000.

 The main issue driving all other activity was to assure that the next exhibit and the millions for dollars it could generate would realize its revenue potential run smoothly. Our initial assessments found that to address the exhibit issues successfully, the infrastructure issues would need to be addressed in parallel. With agreement from the owner to our plan, we proceeded with the program.

The aspects delivered were:

1. Planning of infrastructures and information technology deployment and migration for over three million square feet of real estate, including the primary historic museum venues, classrooms, auditoriums, corporate offices on site, remote retail locations, secure storage and dormitory-rental tenant spaces. This planning, which was used for two major bid activities, included re-usable master specification development and bid document development of those systems critical to the upcoming exhibits. These aims were accomplished 6 weeks ahead of schedule and on budget.  Bids under this program were also under budget.  The plan included all technical elements listed in points listed above plus all services outsourced with ITC’s guidance to others, partially listed in point 4 below.

2. We successfully addressed every aim and goal of exhibit support listed above in point number 7 with the owner ahead of schedules and under budget.  When the Exhibit took place, it was the best attended, most profitable, and highest rated event by patrons in the history of the museum.

3. Master plan and budget creation, technology standards, and migration plan in a five-year intermediate and twelve year long term planning window time frame were researched, delivered, and presented to Policy level management. All recommendations were approved and adopted. The five-year program was fully implanted six months ahead of schedule and was considered by AIC a success.

4. Identification of specialized implementation support, ITC and others needed to provide with phased scheduling, to maximize the use of

the owners technical in house staff while providing specialized support as required. Since ITC has no vendor affiliations and was formally required by contract not to have any conflicts of interest, we recommended for sole-source and outsource activities that needed specialty-consulting firms in retail event ticketing, physical security, inventory control, out sourced web development support, and data firewall protection.

5. A technical staff assessment and development plan was delivered with suggested outside training and budgets for phased implantation. This plan was implemented with technical staff retention and end user satisfaction at an all time high water mark at its completion.

6. Architectural, historic, and esthetic considerations were key importance in the main museum venues.  Applications and the related technologies needed were carefully planned to provide for multiple generations of technology with seamless expansion and placement in existing infrastructures. After planning and creation of detailed construction designs, selection of skilled conservation capable craftsmanship followed; resulting in minimal physical presence in forms designed to blend into the surroundings to support current and anticipated functions.  Minimally invasive and miniaturized technologies were incorporated to attain the desired results.  Allerton Library in AIC is a “text book” example of how to correctly do a National Historic Site technical upgrade.

7. Intermediate and long term migration plans, budgets, and phasing recommendations were made, adopted and implemented at or ahead of plan budgets’ permitting.

8. Preliminary planning and accommodations for the relocation of major equipment rooms that were required, along with a planned “Modern Wing” addition to the museum, were also completed at this time. The early augmentation to these equipment spaces lead to the on time completion of the AIC’s new “Modern Wing”

A separate project was developed to award sole source for a similar study for selected aspects of security for the Museums’ collection assets. All network architectures were planned and upgraded.    We supported the office of the CFO, Trustees of the Museum, and the Park District of the City of Chicago .

Similar projects include design support the implementation team of the J Paul Getty Museum , Los Angeles , The University of Chicago and college campuses, and eight school districts.



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