BOCA RATON (CBS4) – Students are attending classes, but things are still not quite back to normal at Lynn University. The rush is on to break down all the infrastructure put in place for the third and final debate as quickly as possible.
What took days to set up took just hours to break down. Starting from the top and working their way down, it took about 50 people to bring down the heavy stage walls, the entire lighting system, and every pole, cable and crate, needed to put on a show as big as a presidential debate.
Michael Foley designed the entire set used in the debate and oversaw the breakdown.
“We put in all the rigging, lighting, audio and scenery. It’s like a traveling road show,” he told CBS4’s Natalia Zea. “It’s actually pretty intricate, we’ve been working on this design since March and doing surveys. Not only did we have to make it work in Hofstra as a town hall, had to make it work in Denver as an ice arena.”
Their work is now part of history. The specially designed table with extra leg room for the candidates has been on debate sets since 2004, and the large eagle showpiece has overseen 26 debates. It now all goes into storage.
“It was a once in a lifetime moment,” said Lynn University freshman Linda Foinding. “It’s something I’m going to tell my children about.”
Lynn University president Kevin Ross admitted he hasn’t slept much this week, but has no intention of slowing down after the debate.
“I saw somebody had up on their Twitter, ‘Lynn University Olympics 2016 or 2018’ I don’t even remember and I said, oh geez let’s take a knee for a minute. I think we’ve done our civic duty.”
South Florida workers are taking apart canopies and stages across the campus.
“We’ve been working all week here so they brought us a lot of business,” said Dan Russ of Panache Party Rentals.
The more than 3,500 members of the international media also broke down to head to the next stop.
Students, like Autumn Barr seem sad to see it all go.
“We had signs saying 30 days til the debate, 10 days til the debate and now it’s over, it’s done. All of it is just over and it’s kind of depressing,” Barr said.
Still, Lynn University will reap the rewards for this debate for a long time.
There was a campus lake filled in to accommodate debate parking is going to become a new soccer and lacrosse stadium. The hi-speed Internet systems that reporters relied on will be put to use on campus starting in December.
“In my dorm, I only get one bar. They said everyone on campus no matter where you stand you’ll have five,” said student Carolyn Hartman. “So I’m waiting for it President Ross!”
Ross said he plans to deliver and then some.
“We are going to be looking at a way for all our first year students to get some form of tablet, whether it’s an iPad, that has all their course materials digitized onto it allowing them to connect with faculty members in ways that they haven’t been able to do just yet,” Ross said.
Upon hearing the news, Lynn University junior Joe Anzeveno smiled and said, “That’s awesome. Thanks for telling me that!”
Overall, students said this debate did something for Lynn that will last for years to come.
“People have been stopping by and taking photos saying ‘Oh yeah I live near Lynn’ instead of saying, ‘Where’s that?’ And they’re proud, Boca residents are really proud,” Barr said.