Tonight’s 2020 Presidential Debate is taking place in Cleveland, Ohio at Case Western Reserve University. Here’s what you need to know about the location of the debate and why it was chosen.
Tonight’s Debate Is Taking Place at the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion at Case Western Reserve University
Tonight’s debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is co-hosted by Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic. It’s being held at the Health Education Campus at Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio. The location was chosen after the University of Notre Dame withdrew due to COVID-19 concerns, Cleveland Clinic shared on its debate webpage. Cleveland Clinic is also the Health Security Advisor for the Commission on Presidential Debates this year.
More specifically, the debate is taking place in the Health Education Campus’s Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion. The Pavilion is a 477,000-square-foot building that includes a 27,000-square-foot atrium, a 7,000-square-foot auditorium, and an innovative laboratory.
The Health Education Campus just opened in 2019 as a joint project between the Cleveland Clinic and Case. On the debate webpage they note: “The Health Education Campus, a joint project between the two institutions, opened in 2019 and features the 477,000-square-foot Samson Pavilion. Students from the university’s schools of medicine, nursing and dental medicine – including those in Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine – learn, study and collaborate together on the 11-acre campus.”
Case Western Reserve & Cleveland Clinic Had Just Converted a Building on the Campus Into a COVID Hospital Earlier This Year
Earlier this year, Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic teamed up to turn the Health Education Campus’s main building into a temporary but fully functioning 1,000-bed surge hospital. The hospital was called Hope Hospital and was set up to treat COVID-19 patients who didn’t need high levels of care.
The debate webpage notes that many precautions are in place for tonight’s event.
A broad range of risk-mitigation strategies, including limiting audience size, adding distance between seats, incorporating personal health screening and safety measures, and implementing disinfectant measures, will help protect everyone within the space. Specific debate plans may change based on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic. Debate precautions will be aligned with county, state and CDC guidelines for health, safety and physical distancing.
Tonight is the second time Case Western Reserve hosted a debate. It lasted hosted the vice presidential debate in 2004 between Dick Cheney and John Edwards at the Veale Convocation Recreation and Athletic Center.
After tonight, the vice presidential debate is next on Wednesday, October 7 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The moderator for this debate will be Susan Page of USA Today.
Then on Thursday, October 15 is the second presidential debate at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. The moderator for this debate will be Steve Scully of C-SPAN. This debate will be in a town hall type format.
The third presidential debate is scheduled for Thursday, October 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The moderator for this debate will be Kristen Welker of NBC.