MILWAUKEE — University of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee planners, grounds crew and students have
been putting in some long days to make sure everything is
set for this week's Democratic presidential debate.
Ground crews and about 30
students have been working 12- to 13-hour days per day for
about three weeks to prepare for Thursday's debate at Helen
Bader Concert Hall in the university's Helene Zelazo Center
for the Performing Arts, Randall Trumbull-Holper, director
of facilities for the Peck School of the Arts, told the
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1Wbzsam
Musical instruments and other
equipment have been moved out of the concert hall to make
way for the debate stage and "PBS NewsHour"
accommodations. All of the chairs have been removed from the
balcony to make way for CNN's broadcast set.
"The hardest part is
trying to anticipate everything," Trumbull-Holper said
The facilities director even
has a backup plan in case temperatures dip into the single
digits, causing the water to freeze in the external tank for
the presidential candidates' bathroom trailer, which will be
placed just offstage in case Hillary Clinton or Bernie
Sanders needs to use the restroom during a commercial break.
Trumbull-Holper also has
crackerjack sound technicians working to address problems
with acoustics in the concert hall. There are some areas on
the stage where a person could whisper and be heard, and
other areas that are dead without amplification, he said.
Additionally, dents and dings
have been smoothed in the lobby walls outside the concert
halls, carpet has been replaced, and the former synagogue's
stained glass windows have been repainted in spots.
All normal activity in the
Zelazo Center will be suspended by the end of the day
Wednesday and will be moved elsewhere through Friday. The
building will be completely shut down to anyone without
clearance on Thursday.
About 700 people will be in
the audience during the debate. An estimated 400 journalists
will set up across the street in the student union.
"PBS NewsHour" will
pay the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee about $50,000 to