How presidential debate will affect area

By Sarah Auffret

With the third and final debate between President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry scheduled Oct. 13 at Arizona State University, officials have released a preliminary report on how it may impact Kyrene Corridor residents and thousands of others traveling in or around the university during or prior to the event.

University spokesmen say all efforts are geared toward maintaining normal university business operations and keeping disruption to a minimum, and DPS and other on-campus organizations involved in the planning will monitor and make changes as needed.

The following information is subject to change, but is current as of Sept. 21. All of the information pertains to ASU's Tempe campus.

All classes remain scheduled on the day of the debate and the days leading up to it. There will be no classes held in Gammage Auditorium after Oct. 8. Affected students and faculty are being notified of alternative locations.

Parking displacements will affect all decal holders in Lot 3, which surrounds Gammage, and some or all in Parking Structure 1, which is located just south of the W. P. Carey School of Business. Displaced decal holders will be notified of alternative parking locations.

There will be a staging area for DPS equipment in Lot 40, which means less spaces available for parking there, and Lot 59 on the north side of campus will have more people in it than usual because of an expected audience to watch the debate simulcast at Wells Fargo Arena.

Depending on additional security needs, other parking displacements may occur. As a general rule, when ASU hosts events that fall during school hours we recommend that students and employees carpool if possible or use other modes of transportation to further help mitigate disruption.

The debate is still weeks away, but security officials have been planning for a year. The security preparations for the debate are part of a unified effort between camphus, city, state and federal authorities.

ASU's Department of Public Safety is responsible for the overall security of the entire university and the vast majority of the university will not be impacted by security measures. There are four general areas of oversight with varying levels of security.

Secure inner perimeter: The interior perimeter fence will include the sidewalks outside of Gammage and this area will be controlled by the Secret Service and ASU DPS, and will require credentials for entry.

Secure outer perimeter: the outer perimeter fence will include the park area near Gammage, but not the Music Department or the Farmer Education Building. Residents of Center Complex will have access in and out through the east entrance only. There are no plans to post officers in the residence halls, although Residential Life officials will be asked to let only residents into the buildings on the day of the debate.

Tempe city streets will be under the control of Tempe police. Driving routes will be restricted for the debate and are dependent upon motorcade routes and times. Forest Avenue and Gammage Parkway will be closed because of the security perimeter.

The rest of campus will have minimal to no changes or disruptions.

Additional road closures expected. At this time it is expected that Apache Boulevard will be closed from College Avenue around the Apache/Mill turn to University Boulevard. The exact time of closure is not known, but it could be as early as the night before. The motorcade routes, which haven't been determined, will be closed to traffic one hour prior to the actual start of the motorcade.

A public comment area is planned and will be located on the athletic field north of the Student Recreation Complex. A stage and sound system will be available.

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-- Contributed by Sarah Auffret, assistant director of media relations at ASU.