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   * What's the bedroom rate going to be? Number of room-nights required?
 * Get detailed food costs
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 * Get detailed food costs: costs for breakfast, lunch, breaks. Are tips/tax included?
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 * A/V equipment: projectors. Cost?
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 * Parking cost for attendees?

Barring a surprising change in Python's growth, PyCon 2006 will be too large for GWU's facilities. The 2005 conference will therefore be the last one at GWU.

The larger the venue, the further in advance we need to book it, so we should regard 2006 venue choice as an immediate problem, rather than waiting until it's too late.

Since venues typically book up to 18 months in advance, you might argue we are already too late, and I wouldn't disagree. Typically we should expect to be doing long-range planning 18-24 months in advance.

First let's try to establish some ground rules. Before we start to advocate particular venues, let's all try to agree on what we'd like from an ideal venue. The hope is that this can be incorporated into some kind of "scoresheet" that those who visit potential venues can use to report back - preferably to the pycon-organizers list, with a summary here.

Desirable Venue Characteristics

  • Close to public transport. We are interpreting this to mean within a five-minute walk of a Metro station, with no obstacles to wheelchair-bound or otherwise disabled delegates.
  • Convenient for low-cost accommodation. Not necessarily in the immediate vicinity, but if not then we'd need to establish such accommodation and the route(s) to it. Low-cost can be defined as under $60 per night (although I'll accept arguments on this).
  • Able to handle at least 1,000 delegates. This might seem like an extreme upper limit, but it would be nice to avoid the venue selection exercise becoming an annual event.
  • Facilities support must be comparable or better than what you have at GWU. Plus be aware that the cost of catering, networking, equipment, etc. could be significant additional costs beyond the base venue. as they were for the first two events, but yes, they clearly have to be budgeted -- sh

  • Venue must support sprints before or after the conference or we need another venue to hold the sprints.
  • Venue must allow for sessions in the evening for the annual PSF meeting, BOFs, etc.
  • I want a demo-room, for people who want to give demos. I'd like a little more formal structure backing this -- certainly one can use Open Space for demos, and we did, but I think there would be more demos if it had its own independent and formal structure. --lac

  • room for tutorial sessions. aside from this, no 'ballroom' like rooms for sessions.

Crystal Gateway

[http://marriott.com/property/propertyPage/WASGW Crystal Gateway Marriott]

  • Suggested by Michael McLay; he says we can get a good rate for the week after Easter (April 17-21, 2006).

  • Largest ballroom has 2200 capacity in theatre style, followed by one room for 1600 people, two rooms for 600 people, and one for 500.
  • There are about 10 rooms with 250-person capacity, and 12 rooms with 50-60 person capacity.
  • The 50-person rooms seat around 40 people in banquet style, which seems more suited to sprints, BoFs, etc. (The site also advertises an ovals-and-rounds seating style, but doesn't give room capacities for this style.)

  • Catered food available. A ballpark price for the food was given as $14.50 for breakfast, $25-28 for lunch, and $10.00 for breaks.
  • Wireless Internet available.
  • $14/day on-site parking
  • Hotel is expensive: $299 standard price (presumably PyCon guests would get a better rate, but we don't know what the rate is yet. $160 was suggested.)

  • Probably connected to [http://www.crystalcity.com/phone.htm Crystal City Shops], which has a lot of food places.

  • Unknown: cost of venue
  • Unknown: is it available in the evening?
  • Site visit is scheduled for Dec. 17 at 4PM.

Questions for site visit

  • What's the bedroom rate going to be? Number of room-nights required? Right to audit is required.
  • Get detailed food costs: costs for breakfast, lunch, breaks. Are tips/tax included?
  • How much will wireless support cost? Can it be open to everyone or are access controls required?
  • Function space: Any auditorium-style space?
  • Function space: get capacities and style information.
  • A/V equipment: projectors. Cost?
  • Is function space available in the evening?
  • Parking cost for attendees?

Preliminary DC-area surveys

Please add information here that you have obtained from specific venues. Where possible please include contact details for your sources of information, and add your own identity.

  • The Inn and Conference Center (University of Maryland University College)
    • Contact Tim Ultenbern (301-985-7855).
    • Auditorium supports 750 people.
    • Foodservice available in hallway or in main ballroom.
    • Flexible catering.
    • 3 Floors of meeting rooms ranging in sizes from small to large.
    • Available March 21 - 25, with sprints and/or open space rooms available 2 days before and/or after.
    • Cost is $85 per person per day, which includes rooms, beverages (coffee and soda), AV, lunch, service charges, and parking.
    • Rooms available for reservation.
    • Wireless complimentary in public areas (hallways), and to get a line into each meeting room we'd need $175 per line per day. We can install our own switch and/or 802.11 access point.
  • Stamp Student Union (University of Maryland College Park)
    • Contact Paul Prescott (301-314-7881) or Stamp Student Union (ask for reservations: 301-314-3375)
    • Grand ballroom supports 800 people, auditorium style
    • Hoff theatre supports 500 people
    • Food is catered (same as UMUC above)
    • The food outlets in basement are closed during spring break
    • There are rooms that hold 100 - 250 people, including the colony ballroom
    • Recommended talking to UMUC, as it is more self contained and perhaps more appropriate. Am waiting on a callback from Stamp Union.

Other possibilities

Some possible sites:

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (really!) http://www.conferencesolution.com/ (Arlington, up to 750)

Marymount U.: http://www.marymount.edu/confcenter/main.html (Arlington, up to 750, but only available from May to August 1st),

DoubleTree Tysons Corner: http://www.doubletree.com/en/dt/hotels/index.jhtml?ctyhocn=IADLRDT (largest room is 600; calls itself "executive", so probably pricy).

4H Center, Chevy Chase, Maryland http://www.4hcenter.org/index.html (up to 800, but specializing in youth conferences; has 800 beds available, though)

Hilton Mark Center, Alexandria http://www.hilton.com/en/hi/hotels/index.jhtml?ctyhocn=DCAAHHH (largest room seats 1200; this is where Python10 was held; forget about mass transit, though).


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