There was excitement is the air as about 600 came on Thursday, July 20, to a informational meeting to hear about the Three Ring Studios and its impact on Covington and Newton County. To accommodate the crowd the meeting was held at the Springfield Baptist Church. It had the feeling of a revival mixed with a political rally. Those who gathered were a cross section of our community. There were the young and the old, all races and people of various economic levels. And the news that Rahim Charania, president of Three Ring, brought them was amazing.
Charania learned early in his career the symbiotic relationship between a business and the community it is a part of. The special presentation was a part of making sure that all the community sees the benefits Three Ring brings to Covington.
The evening was full of inspiration about the future of Covington and Newton County. It was a celebration of promise, change and opportunity. Covington’s place as the “Hollywood of the South” will become much stronger. With new technology we will no longer be limited to the many local scenes we have for movies and television shows. On the back lot of Three Ring Studios there will be permanent movie sets that could be Central Park or Wall Street in New York plus other streets and scenes as well.
Then there will be the “green wall” that will measure 50 feet by 250 feet, that can literally appear to be anywhere in the world. Production companies can come to Covington, and produce movies and programs that would appear to be in many exotic places.
The “south campus” which is now under construction will have seven double sound stages. These are large “hanger-type buildings” that provide the platform where the scene can be built for any production. The sound stages will be built in such a way that there can be an “explosion” inside and those outside the sound stage will not hear it. There is 36,400 square feet in each of these buildings. This is in addition to more than 100,000 square feet of office space, 6,000 square feet of restaurant space, and 20,000 square feet of space for vendors when the south campus is fully built out. There are plans for two additional campuses.
Charania told the crowd that Three Rings Studios will be different from any other in Georgia. It will be designed to adapt to the changing environment in which we live.
Have you ever dropped a rock into a still pond of water and watch the ripples move away from the center? What you see will be very similar to the impact of Three Ring Studios on our community. It is what Charania called the “Halo effect.” There will be many supportive business needed for what happens in each of the sound stages and the back lot.
Examples he gave were cars that would have to be rented while the cast and crew are in production, food that will have to be provided for three meals a day and, of course, rooms for the crew and cast to stay in. There will be needs for hauling off the trash produced by the productions and security for the studios. Charania said that 70 percent of those business that will be needed in the “halo effect” do not exist today in Covington. He challenged the community to find ways to be involved.
When asked what drew him to Covington to build Three Rings Studios. He pointed to Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston and said he has bought into the Mayor’s vision of reaching zero unemployment and the elimination of poverty. Charania pointed to not only his project but the Covington Town Center project and a soon to be announced office complex as examples of the rapid progress in Covington.
Two other announcements that night spoke of this same optimism. One was scholarship that Three Ring will sponsor for graduates from schools in Newton and Rockdale Counties. He told the crowd, “College is expensive. We are going to help and we’re not the only ones. Businesses across the world are going to help.”
The second announcement was of a job fair on Thursday, Sep. 21, at the Covington Campus of Georgia Piedmont Technical College. The college is sponsoring the fair along with Congressman Jody Hice, who was present for the Three Ring evening. More than 50 businesses are expected to be represented at the Fair.