Debate site visit to campus produces favorable impression
RELEASED: July 19, 2007
Centre College is now among 17 candidates bidding to host a general election debate in 2008. Centre President John A. Roush says, "If chosen, I am confident that Centre and its remarkable team of people can conduct a debate that will, as observed by others in 2000, set a new standard for excellence."
| DANVILLE, KY—A producer with the Commission on Presidential Debates gave Centre College positive feedback on Monday after touring the campus facilities that would be used if Centre is chosen to host a general election debate in 2008.
"This is a fabulous venue for the debate," said Rory Davies, a member of the CPD's survey team. Davies met with Centre President John Roush and the co-chairmen of the College's debate steering committee, Richard Trollinger, vice president for college relations, and Clarence R. Wyatt, special assistant to the president and history professor, as well as a number of other Centre officials.
Davies said she was impressed with the prospective site of a debate, Newlin Hall in the Norton Center for the Arts, and Sutcliffe Hall, which would serve as the media center.
Sutcliffe, which also served as the media center when Centre hosted the only vice-presidential debate in 2000, underwent a major renovation and expansion in 2005.
"The new Sutcliffe Hall facility is beautiful—almost like it was built for a media center," Davies said during the afternoon meeting. "You guys have a track record, and you're in very good shape."
Davies said another factor working in Centre's favor is that the same group of administrators that oversaw the College's successful effort to land and host a debate in 2000 remains intact this time around.
In addition to looking at Newlin and Sutcliffe, Davies checked out other campus buildings and facilities, including potential parking areas for satellite TV trucks and space for the campaign staff of the debaters to set up shop.
"My job isn't to give broad impressions of an applicant site's major facilities," she said. "It's to provide the commission with a nuts and bolts assessment of all the physical components needed for a major TV production that involves hundreds upon hundreds of people, from more than 1,500 media to the campaigns to the spectators, not to mention our own crew and contractors directly involved with production."
"We present the commission with a report on each applicant site that's as detailed an assessment of everything as we can provide, and then leave it to them to make the decision," she said.
Davies said staff reports by the survey team on each of the applicants will be given to the board of the CPD by the end of July. The board will then spend about 10 weeks making its decisions. Originally 19 applicants, including Centre, were selected as possible sites; two applicants have dropped out of the running.
"They pretty much take the summer and early fall deliberating and then in mid October announce the sites, dates and times of the debates," Davies said. The CPD board will select three sites that will host presidential debates and one site that will host a vice-presidential debate. The board also will pick two alternate sites.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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