Welcome to Boca Raton magazine’s Debate Watch blog. We will be weighing in now and then on what we hear about the progress toward our exciting October 22, 2012 presidential debate at Lynn University—the gee-whiz preparations, the obstacles, what people are saying.

It’s safe to say we have all gotten through the pinch-me-is-this-real stage. Jason Walton, Chief of Staff, Office of the President at Lynn and co-chair with Greg Malfitano of the debate planning committee, shared the story of how Lynn got the debate at the November Chamber breakfast. Lynn competed against 11 other schools, and it always wanted the first or last debate—the “showcase” debates of the four presidential debates that will be held.  The application was submitted in January 2010; in May 2010, the Commission for Presidential Debates (CPD) visited the campus. There was another visit, then early word this summer that was kept top secret. The CDC made a public announcement October 31, and Lynn was off (literally) to the races.

Since that time, the magnitude of what has to happen to Lynn physically and planning-wise in the next several months is mind-boggling at best. The cost to host the debate? Around $4.5 million.  And what about transportation, security, facilities and accommodations? An estimated 10,000 people will visit for the debate. Greg Malfitano is in charge of transforming the campus to CPD specs, and others have other jobs.  Mostly, as Walton said, “We have to get this right. It’s not about me—it’s about we—we have the power to recast and reframe how people think about us.”

We’ll be talking about that here over the coming months—and entertaining a dialogue on how much we should expect to be covered by media vs. what other schools and their cities have experienced.

Tell us your thoughts and ideas—and check out Lynn’s official debate web site at debate2012.lynn.edu.