NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Belmont University is gearing up to host the final presidential debate of the season.
The university and city leaders got a look at some of the work already taking place inside Curb Event Center.
The presidential debate will be held Thursday, Oct. 22. NBC News' Kristen Welker will moderate the debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
The Commission on Presidential Debates released the topics for the final debate on Friday afternoon. The topics, which could change, are as follows:
- Fighting COVID-19
- American Families
- Race in America
- Climate Change
- National Security
MNPD Interim Chief John Drake, along with State and City leaders briefed the media on preparations, especially security.
“To carry out this mission, we’ll have 700 police personnel involved. Our presence in and around Belmont University will be particularly strong and particularly Wednesday and Thursday of next week,” Drake said.
Belmont’s no stranger to major events. They hosted the 2008 Presidential Debate, but the main difference from 12 years ago: COVID-19. Social distancing and COVID testing is the big game changer this time around.
“I can tell you what we’re using for those who are going into the debate is that we require within 72 hours that there be a negative test. So that’s just one protection measure. Face masks, social distancing. Limiting the number of people. Hand sanitizers,” Dr. Michael Caldwell, Director of Public Health, said.
For the youngest people involved, the students at Belmont, being apart of history is a dream come true.
“We were not old enough to vote in the last one, so, it feels pretty surreal too, to have such a hands-on experience with this event. Not only serve our student buddy and give back to the palace that’s served us so much, but also just be involved in the process as well,” Molly Deakins, Co-Chair of the Presidential Debate Students Engagement Committee, said.
“The pandemic hit and it’s just been a whirlwind of emotions. Just being able to adapt to the situation. And now, to see that it’s finally here is just...I can’t believe it!” Keidron Turner said.
Andrea Runner, along with Belmont University staff, took the media on a tour of the stage.
Runner and staff members have been working around the clock, transforming the campus for the event.
“Behind me, there are two HVC vents specifically for each candidate. So that way the temperature in their area stays consistent with each other,” Runner said.
The debate will start at 8 pm on News 4 and will run for 90 minutes without commercial interruption.