UNI's West Gym turns into a Republican party - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UNI's West Gym turns into a Republican party

by Lauren Squires

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) - The republican presidential campaign has put Iowa in its sights.  With ten days left till Election Day, the McCain-Palin ticket has brought both candidates to the state.  Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin was in the state Saturday with appearances in Sioux City and Des Moines.

Republican nominee John McCain will be in the state Sunday  Coming to Waterloo and KWWL for a special live broadcast of Meet the Press and Cedar Falls for a campaign rally at the University of Northern Iowa.

The magic numbers is 2600.  That's how many tickets the McCain campaign has handed out for Sunday.  And despite short notice, a lot of work has gone into preparing for a big crowd.

Preparations were underway Saturday afternoon.  The task: turn West Gym at the University of Northern Iowa, into a Republican party.  "Its almost beyond comprehension.  I mean to get the word out, get tickets into hands of people. Plus the venue selection It's an unbelievable task," Don Wood, chair of Black Hawk County Republican.

Building camera platforms handing flags and, yes, even painting signs all a part of the preparations.

With over 2000 tickets being handed out for the McCain visit that creates a problem not only for security but also the fire marshals.  That's because these barricades could be put in front of door ways. Cedar Falls Fire Chief Desi Duggan says there will be not short cuts, despite the short notice.

"They want to bring in as many people as they can but we're limited to the amount of doors we can have time to get out of incase emergency," said Duggan.

Duggan says they've meet with secret service agents to go over logistics. "They kind of told us how they would like this to happen and we try to work around that as best as possible." 

And organizers are expecting big crowds Sunday morning.  "I'm sure there's going to be a capacity crowd in this facility and it'll be exciting," said Wood.

Duggan says they'll be at the doors along with security Sunday making sure the building doesn't go over it's 2000 person capacity.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

Online Producer: Michelle Caldwell

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