"The capacity of our fiber-optic backbone is basically limited by the devices and drivers that are used with it," says Mike Polovcin, director of operations for the new Hawai'i Convention Center. "We provide the highway--what travels on it, and how fast, is up to the organization using the building." In other words, high-tech organizations using the center, which opened in June, can bring their own routers and switches and configure them any way they like.

The center's lines will handle T1, voice, video, or Internet signals. In addition to the fiber-optic network, phone service is carried over category 5 lines capable of handling voice and data transmission (these compare with category 3 lines, which most buildings and households use to carry POTS--plain old telephone service).

The new building is also set up for satellite upload/download. "Rather than install satellite dishes, which can become obsolete pretty quickly, we installed the utilities a satellite transmitter needs: a high-capacity cable connection (a fiber-optic network, as opposed to the old RJ cable, like the ones that hook your TV to your cable service), and a 480-volt, three-phase electric source. "You can back a broadcasting truck up to our loading docks and the utilities are right there, along with an audio-video network box," says Polovcin. "The cables run back to our control center where you can either feed a presentation from the ballroom to a satellite uplink or into the building's fiber-optic network." Dial-up video transmission will be available in convenient form beginning in July, when California-based local telephone carrier GST brings in its own fiber-optic line.

The center's third-floor meeting area has two multimedia presentation centers with tiered seating for 332 and 465 people, respectively. Each is tied to the convention center's fiber-optic network; each can be either a source for video signals or a receiving point for them. The larger theater comes complete with a working curtain. In both cases, event organizers are expected to bring their own cameras, projectors, and so on, and plug them into the building's connections.

Another third-floor room has 400 RJ 45 ports connected to category 5 telephone wiring for personal computers. The wiring is routed back to an interconnect room--so computers can be connected to one another or, via a digital switch, to an outside network.

The 200,000-square-foot exhibition hall is of average size, says Polovcin, "but we have 192 floor boxes installed, each with category 5 telephone line, fiber-optic connection, high voltage, low voltage, compressed air, water, and water drain. So we can stage just about anything from the floor."

Because the Hawai'i Convention Center is located in the heart of Honolulu, it was built on a relatively small footprint. "When we conducted research on this, we found that the number-one concern of conference organizers for a four-floor building was vertical movement of people," says Polovcin. "So we built the three biggest escalators in the state. We can move a lot of people very quickly."

And the View's Good, Too Situated on a 10-acre site at the entrance to Waikiki, the convention center offers spectacular views of surrounding landmarks like the Ko'olau mountains and Diamond Head.

The center's ground floor houses a registration lobby leading into the exhibit hall. The hall, with its 30-foot ceiling, can be dedicated to one purpose, or configured into two or three rooms, each with its own entry to the lobby. There are 19 truck docks; trailers can also be wheeled directly onto the center's exhibit hall floor.

The second floor of the facility is exclusively parking (800 spaces), while the third floor contains 107,426 square feet of space that can be configured into 49 meeting rooms. Also on the third floor are the multimedia theaters mentioned above.

The meeting level connects to the main lobby and Ala Wai Promenade by an opened trellised concourse, where delegates can enjoy the cool breezes in shaded seating areas. A terraced staircase descends from the concourse to the promenade and is flanked by a series of waterfalls.

The fourth floor of the center features a 36,000-square-foot-ballroom. It can be divided into three rooms, each with its own food service station. The prefunction lobby overlooks a 2.5-acre landscaped roof garden.