If you look up downtown, you'll see a familiar sight: Boarding up the windows. But it's not for a hurricane; this is for protection from a political storm.
"There have been a history of government buildings being damaged, particularly glass during events such as the RNC from protestors," explained Sharon Subadon, the county's deputy administrator for public safety.
Each panel is lighter than plywood, with many of the same properties. Just enough strength to keep things from shattering should things turn violent, like Minneapolis four years ago.
"We felt it was important to protect the citizens' assets, which this county center is, and cover the first two levels," Subadon continued.
With the county center in the heart of the event zone, the heavy-duty plastic sheets will help keep the peace by protecting the glass on the first two levels.
The School Board of Hillsborough County is taking precautions, too. The same effect but a clearly different look: A film, barely visible, has been installed there and at Rampello Downtown Partnership School.
"It basically makes the glass shatterproof," explained schools spokesman Steve Hegarty.
On the other side of the glass, they'll be taking precautions, too. The school board offices will be closed but they're not sure who will show up. So everything not bolted down will be safely taken inside.
The only thing that you will see outside are benches, which are actually bolted to the ground. They can't be removed.
The precautions cost about $100,000, but the benefit will stay around much longer than the delegates at the RNC.
"It prevents the windows from shattering so that if there is a hurricane sometime in the future, we wouldn't have to worry about that," Hegarty added.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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