Published August 29th, 2008
The Republican Party is preparing the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul for their 39th national convention.
By Ken Freed
Correspondent, TV Technology
When the Committee On Arrangements for the 2008 Republican National Convention took over the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis-Saint Paul on July 21, they kicked off six weeks of intense work preparing the facility for the 39th Republican convention on September 1-4, 2008. This is the first national political convention in Minnesota since 1892, when the Republicans nominated Benjamin Harrison.
The 20,000-seat Xcel arena with four seating levels, a state-of-the-art facility that opened in 2000, needs to accommodate 30,000 delegates, party officials, volunteers, and guests plus 15,000 members of the media. Fortunately, much of the media operations will occupy 475,000 square feet of workspace in the adjoining Saint Paul RiverCentre convention center and The Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium.
One of the first tasks for the works crews, said Gordon Pennoyer, deputy director of media operations for the Committee On Arrangements (COA), is removing about 3,000 seats for the main convention podium and assorted television networks anchor or camera positions.
The Xcel Center already contains the Al Shaver Press Box on the fifth level along with 62 suite on that level and another dozen on the concourse level, of which 23 are being converted for use as media studios. Another nine media suites are being fabricated on the concourse level.
Crews are taking out seats in front of all these media suites, Pennoyer said, so studios can extend out and down, allowing reporters to do interviews and stand-ups with the convention floor behind them. (more…)