What does it take to convert a hockey arena into a site that can handle the technology demands of the Republican National Convention? Roughly 25 miles of cabling, for starters.

Since gaining access to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, convention organizers have laid miles of cable, removed 3,500 seats, started transforming 30 arena suites into temporary media studios, and begun rigging the trusses that will hold lighting, speakers and other production equipment.

As venues go, the arena’s openness and existing infrastructure have kept the IT challenges manageable, says Max Everett, CIO for the committee in charge of the 2008 Republican National Convention.