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Forum acoustics tuned for RNC

Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 10:21 PM

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More than a half-million dollars in acoustics improvements at the Forum for the 2012 Republican National Convention will not muffle sounds at sporting events and will improve the venue for concerts, officials said Monday.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and the 2012 Republican National Convention Host Committee split the cost of $520,000 in acoustics work and new equipment, said Lightning official Ray Chandler.

Chandler was hired to oversee the Lightning's $45 million renovation in 2011 under its new owner, Jeff Vinik.

There wasn't money in that budget to improve acoustics, but the need for a sound system for the RNC to provide extreme clarity for speeches mandated the improvements that are under way.

"Concerts will be improved greatly," Chandler said.

By collaborating on a deal to share costs, the Forum gets a permanent improvement for its acoustics systems instead of just a temporary fix for the Aug. 27-30 convention.

Improvements will include 100,000 square feet of acoustic blankets at the top of the arena, as well as vertical blankets, all of which are designed to work together to improve sound clarity, Chandler said.

The host committee is spending up to $20 million on renovations to the Forum and to the nearby Tampa Convention Center, where work got under way Monday to accommodate up to 15,000 news media members in town for the RNC.

Work is on schedule and within budget, said Mike Miller, chief operating officer for the Republican Committee on Arrangements.

tjackovics@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7817

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