Tampa Bay Times Forum no longer home to Lightning and Storm as the RNC moves in

RNC starts build out at Tampa Bay Times Forum

TAMPA - Crews were hard at work Monday packing up the Tampa Bay Storm gear at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.  Because as the Storm gear was being moved out, the Republican National Convention gear has started to move in.

This is day one as the Tampa Bay Times Forum undergoes a transformation.  Security has already been stepped up, and control of the building -- outside the Forum business offices -- has been turned over to the RNC.

James Davis with the GOP Convention says for the next 42-plus days, the Forum is no longer a sporting / concert venue, but instead a political platform.  And 200 to 300 workers will be doing that pretty much every day until the lights go up on the convention.

As for today, Davis says, "The first row of seats where the podium will be, will be moved today. All of the furniture in the Forum will be packaged up and moved out and stored safely.  I mean it is a major day for us for our planning."

Construction workers, carpenters, electricians, and telecommunications experts will upgrade the phone system, and the sound system, and rework the arena's layout to give the forum a political flare to go along with the fanfare that will come with the convention. 

The total estimated cost to get the political puck to drop at the forum August 27 -- $20 million.

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