The Belmont University lawn has been taken over by a giant white tent where reporters will camp out during the debate, spaced out across long tables.
The platform for the debate stage is up at the Curb Event Center, complete with individual air vents for the candidates so they don’t sweat under the glaring lights.
Belmont has transformed its campus to host the final presidential debate Thursday — a transformation that was planned last year but has changed tremendously in the months since then.
“There have been countless details — I mean, it’s got to be a thousand — that have had to be managed as we’ve been forced to rethink this event from top to bottom,” university President Bob Fisher told reporters during a media walkthrough last week. “Pivots are vital to being able to adapt to the world today, and they’ve never been more vital than in this environment.”
Even in the best of times, hosting a presidential debate is a chaotic undertaking. It requires coordination between the Commission on Presidential Debates, the host university, the Secret Service and local police.
This year, the planning also includes health care company HCA to oversee coronavirus testing, as well as Metro Nashville’s public health department.
Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the candidates to arrive healthy and willing to debate, a week and a half before Election Day.