RNC upgrades benefit planners
The 2012 Republican National Convention wrapped up at the end of August, but improvements made in Tampa, Fla., to accommodate the event are staying in the city. “The RNC is over and the crowds have gone, but the millions of dollars worth of expansions, upgrades and improvements made at the convention center and throughout the destination remain,” says Eric Blanc, CMP, director of sales and marketing at the Tampa Convention Center. The Tampa Convention Center, which served as the media operations center for the convention, completed two years of upgrades and renovations in preparation of the event and the 15,000 media members who used the facility. Improvements included a new fiber-optic infrastructure, cellular network upgrades, and the addition of free Wi-Fi access in all public areas of the 600,000-sq.-ft. convention center. The conversion of the facility’s video system from analog to digital provides an unlimited number of channels for high quality video footage. “Meeting planners and attendees from around the world will immediately benefit from these improvements,” Blanc adds. Future meetings will also benefit from the TCC’s increased green efforts, which include joining the United States Green Building Council and working to earn its LEED certification. New eco-friendly features at the center include an expanded recycling program and energy-star-rated reflective roof covering, which helps reduce heat by up to 15 percent.
Other improvements took place around the city. The Tampa Bay Times Forum’s sound system received a more than $500,000 upgrade, which will improve acoustics during future concerts and events. AT&T, the official wireless provider for the convention, spent $21 million upgrades citywide, adding three new cell towers and more layers of to cell sites to allow for fewer calls faster network downloads. Bright House Networks, which provided Internet and cable television services for the convention, added more fiber strands downtown to enhance Internet capacity. The city also spent almost $3 million in infrastructure upgrades and beautification projects to improve landscaping around the downtown area, adding new trees, shrubs and flowers, and redesigning city signage.