Belmont Univ. prepares for national stage

Belmont Univ. prepares for national stage (Image 1)

One of three debates held prior to this year's presidential election between candidates Barack Obama and John McCain will be held at Nashville's Belmont University.

While still four weeks away the campus has already begun preparing for the media circus that will descend on Music City.

The soccer field has been covered with hundreds of tiles that will provide a floor for a 25,000 square foot media center.

“The media will watch the debate in the tent,” explained Mark Grones of the school's plant operations department.  “The tent will be 248 feet long and 150 feet wide and is a portable building, not a fabric tent that most people might imagine.”

Workers will spend the next several days constructing the portable building.

AT&T workers are also on campus stringing miles of cable between the media center and the Curb Center where McCain and Obama will debate before a national television audience.

Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said while the construction is an inconvenience for faculty and staff, it's worth it.

“I think we're also excited about what we're doing,” he said.  “We're willing to endure some pain right now.”

The debate will be held October 7.

It is the second of three debates between McCain and Obama.

The first will be held September 26 at the University of Mississippi and the third will be held October 15 at Hofstra University in New York.

The debate between vice presidential candidates Sarah Palin and Joe Biden will be held October 2 at Washington University in St. Louis.

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