Madison Square Garden (search) got another makeover Thursday morning as carpenters built a special theater-in-the-round stage for the convention's guest of honor, President Bush (search ).

A new elevated walkway leads to a round stage, about 20 feet wide, with steps fanning down. The new structure places the president in the center of his party faithful for his Thursday night speech.

Earlier speakers spoke from a traditional podium at one side of the hall.

"The use of this new stage allows for the president to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with his audience as he has stood with the American people over the course of the past four years," Republican National Convention (search ) spokesman Leonardo Alcivar said.

Bush was set to get a preview of the stage during a microphone test midday Thursday.

Work began on the stage after Vice President Dick Cheney and delegates exited the hall Wednesday night.