Belmont University Prepares For Presidential Debate - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Belmont University Prepares For Presidential Debate


NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Belmont University is hosting one of three presidential debates.

The big event is still months away, but the work has already begun on campus.

And it's going to cost a lot of money. School officials predict it will cost $3.5 million.

The campus has been busily preparing for the historic event since learning in November it would host the debate.

"We have committee meetings that happen every day of the week," said Pamela Johnson, director of strategic marketing and special Initiatives at Belmont University.

Belmont is getting ready to be thrust onto a world stage by hosting the debate moderated by veteran journalist Tom Brokaw, current host of "Meet the Press."

"It's anywhere from 10-hour to 12-hour days," Johnson said.

Plans are in place that will impact almost every inch of the campus, which is west of downtown Nashville. The Curb Event Center will be the most notable.

Brokaw will moderate the 90-minute, town-hall style format debate on Oct. 7. A lucky few will get to ask the candidates questions.

"There will be town hall participants, about 100 of them, and they will be selected by the Gallup Poll from undecided voters in Middle Tennessee, so if you get a call from Gallup, and they ask if you have a preference, and you would like to come to the debate, tell them that you haven't made up your mind, because that is how it happens," Johnson said.

Want a seat at the debate? That could be tough because the campaigns and the Commission on Presidential Debates will decide the rest of the people who can attend.

Days away from the event, people may not recognize part of the campus, especially the soccer field, which will be transformed into a makeshift office for 700 journalists.

Several organizations will hold presidential debate viewing parties. Belmont will hold an invitation-only party at the historic Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. 

Metro police said nearly 400 officers will be working the debate to make sure everything goes as planned.

At least 80 officers will be used in the candidate motorcades and another 300 will be at the event.

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