Expect tighter security at show

Visitors to the new Washington Convention Center can expect tighter security at FOSE this year, the event's organizers said Monday.

'Nine years ago when I started with this, you wouldn't have to consider this,' said Bill Howell, general manager of FOSE, now in its 27th year.

All guests must have, and display, FOSE identification name badges, which are frequently checked.

In addition, Howell said, the new $834 million convention center 'has substantial security features built in.'

'We as an event come in and provide a different level of security,' Howell said.

As vendors unloaded show case displays and materials on Monday, Howell said organizers and planners are taking 'additional precautions as the way freight arrives.'

Guards could be seen checking trucks and there were plainclothes security officers scanning the center's hallways, underground loading docks and show floors. FOSE's exhibits, meeting rooms and executive suites are using about 150,000 square feet of the 2.3 million square foot center.

Officials of the Washington Convention Center Authority, which runs the center, declined to discuss specifics of the security plan.

Construction workers are continuing to put finishing touches on the center, about a block from the city's old convention hall.

'There are still some kinks to be worked out,' said Lewis H. Dawley III, the general manager of the convention center authority. 'They are minor things. Probably for six months there are things that they will have to do.'

A direct link from the Mount Vernon Metrorail station to the convention center is to be open Tuesday morning, Metro workers and Dawley said Monday afternoon.


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