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Democrats begin setting up convention at Los Angeles arena

July 11, 2000
Web posted at: 6:13 p.m. EDT (2213 GMT)

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- The transformation has begun at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, as workers Tuesday began readying the arena for the Democratic National Convention in August.

Democrats

The Democratic National Convention Committee on Tuesday officially "took over" the Staples Center and began changing the home of the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers into a convention hall.

More than 1,000 construction workers have removed about 3,000 arena seats and are building the keynote speaker's podium. The platform will be capped with a giant "America 2000: The Democratic Convention" sign. Democratic National Convention Chairman Terry McAuliffe characterized the progress as "terrific."

McAuliffe and convention CEO Lydia Camarillo and were joined by a group of area schoolchildren on a media tour of the facility, which included the symbolic arrival of an 18-wheel moving truck.

In addition, workers are converting 60 skybox suites into broadcast studios for the 160 television outlets, 93 radio stations and more than 100 Internet publications planning to cover the convention. The party estimates it will need to run more than 1.5 million feet of cable for an estimated 15,000 media workers attending.

The convention will be held August 14-17. It will be the first time Democrats meet in Los Angeles since 1960, when the party nominated Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy for president.

The nearly 1 million-square-foot Staples Center, which opened in 1999, can seat up to 20,000 for basketball games and concerts.

 
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Tuesday, July 11, 2000


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