CLEVELAND - With about a week to go before the Republican National Convention, delegates and media have begun arriving in Cleveland, and the rush is on to make sure everything is ready in time.
Now three quarters of the way done, RNC officials said the transformation inside Quicken Loans Arena is on track.
“When you look at the arena night now, you can really tell this is a convention hall, and it's no longer a basketball arena,” RNC Deputy Press Secretary Dave O’Neil said.
The convention stage with its LED panel back drop is set, lighting is up and cables are being put in place. Over the coming week, 2,500 seats will be placed on the arena floor and carpet rolled out. Broadcasters will haul in equipment to turn suites into studios.
“We're going to have a lot of traffic in and out of Quicken Loans Arena this week with folks in the media coming in and setting up shop for what's going to be pretty much 96 hours of nonstop coverage during the convention,” O’Neil said.
He said delegates are already arriving for committee meetings at the convention center this week, including committees focusing on the Republican Party platform and convention rules.
“You're going to have thousands of people in town already this week, prior to the convention even starting,” O’Neil said.
Cleveland city crews cleaned up landscaping near the Q, where people will notice significant changes by next weekend.
Roads immediately surrounding the arena will close at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 16 and remain closed until 6 a.m. Saturday, July 23, according to officials. Others roads throughout downtown are also slated to close starting next weekend.
RNC officials said the security perimeter near the Q should start going up by late this week into next weekend.
A 12-hour secret service security sweep of the Q, which is set to begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 16, is the deadline for completion of preparations there. That sweep will follow a 12 hour sweep of the convention center, set to take place at 6 a.m. the same day.