Tampa, Fla. – Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Republican National Convention Chairman Alec Poitevint today announced the convention’s official move into the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the site of the 2012 Republican National Convention. The move kicks off the final countdown to the August 27-30 event.
With just over 40 days until the opening ceremony, the move marks the beginning of a construction project that will transform the arena into a political landmark.
“Today, the planning ends and the construction begins,” said Poitevint. “I am proud to announce that the Republican National Convention is officially moving into the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
“For months and months, thousands of small details, plans and preparations have been going on internally, but there hasn’t been much for the public to watch,” said Poitevint. “Starting today, you will begin to see a small army of carpenters, electricians, glass installers, movers, painters, stagehands and laborers descending on the 670,000-square-foot Times Forum to turn it into one of our democracy’s greatest icons: the site of a national political convention.”
“The energy surrounding this convention is growing,” said Priebus, who traveled from Washington to help kick off the convention preparations. “The transformation of the Tampa Bay Times Forum into a spectacular Convention Hall will be a tremendous setting for nominating Mitt Romney and it takes us one step closer to the election of Mitt Romney as the next president of the United States.”
Work within the Times Forum will include the construction of a main stage where speakers will address the nation and the transformation of arena suites into television broadcast booths. Other improvements include the addition of a new door on the Channelside perimeter wall, expanding the power capacity of the Times Forum by two megawatts and installing a permanent new subpanel to make electrical distribution more efficient.
During the 16 years since the doors were first opened to what was then called the “Ice Palace,” the Times Forum has hosted everything from concerts to the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals, but nothing on the size or scale of this year’s Republican National Convention. The four-day event is expected to draw more than 50,000 people to Tampa, including 15,000 credentialed media representatives.