After the ceremonial start over the weekend to Centre College’s school year, the curtain will fall on activities in Newlin Hall at the Norton Center for the Arts until the Oct. 11 vice-presidential debate.
Following a packed house for Saturday’s performance by musicians Alison Krause and Union Station and Sunday night’s convocation, the school’s main performance space will go off line.
Wayne King, Centre’s director of facilities, said work will begin immediately removing about 600 seats to make way for the seven television platforms that will accommodate the major television networks.
King’s crew already has been hard at work transforming the Hazelrigg Gymnasium inside Sutcliffe Athletic Center into a media hall. Workers are laying 76,000 feet of wire for data. All together there will be more than 100,000 feet of cable in the building.
In addition to ensuring a constant cool temperature, King and his staff also must also rig an auxiliary electrical system capable of taking over without so much as a flickering of lights should the power go out.
Norton Center Executive Director Steve Hoffman said other locations on campus are being used temporarily for some activities that would be staged at the Norton Center.
It isn’t Hoffman’s first time working around high-profile politicians with heightened security needs. Hoffman said he has planned for presidential visits in previous jobs and often prepared for stops by U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle when Hoffman was head of the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science in Sioux Falls, S.D.
“There is a lot of security and pre-planning,” Hoffman said. “I think that’s part of the fun of working on an event like this and pulling it off successfully.”
The next non-debate performance Oct. 19 will be a step back in time. Huey Lewis and the News will perform during Centre’s homecoming.