"But it appears the announcement won't be at least till the first of November," he said. "At least we do know it won't be too much longer."
Janet Brown, executive director of the CPD, said Monday that the commission initially had hoped to make its announcement in late September but put it off until October and now is looking at November. She attributed the delay to the "large amount of work that has been involved in thoroughly researching and evaluating all 16 sites.
"We understand that (applicants) are anxious to know what sites have been selected, but we have an obligation both to the board and the applicants not to do a partial job but to do a thorough job," she said.
Confident but not cocky
Trollinger said he feels confident but not cocky about Centre's chances. He believes the college scores well on all items on the CPD's checklist, especially those involving debate and media facilities and security issues, and also on one item that was unexpected.
"Back in July when the CPD survey team came to make its official visit, what surprised me the most was when the staff said there was a possibility of a third-party candidate participating in the debate, and they wanted to see if we had the facilities to accommodate the extra candidate," he said.
"There hasn't been a third-party candidate in a CPD debate since 1992, and afterward the commission put in place a policy whereby only those candidates who register at least 15 percent in a sampling of several polls by Sept. 15 of the year of the debate could participate," he said.
If the polls show a third-party candidate qualifies for a debate on Sept. 15, 2008, Trollinger said Centre would be able to accommodate that person.
"Our current dressing room facilities at Newlin Hall at the Norton Center for the Arts are adequate enough to accommodate three candidates and provide the necessary separation of space between them," he said, noting that the candidates are not supposed to meet each other until the debate.
"We also have adequate space at Newlin and at Sutcliffe Hall to accommodate the third-party candidate's staff and supporters.
Centre a 'fabulous venue for a debate'
In an interview after the July visit, CPD survey team member Rory Davies called the college a "fabulous venue for a debate" and said she was particularly impressed with Newlin, where the debate would be held, and Sutcliffe, which would mainly serve as the media center.
Newlin essentially is the same size and configuration as it was in 2000 when the Lieberman-Cheney vice-presidential debate was held there. But Sutcliffe, which served as the media center in 2000, underwent a major renovation and expansion a couple of years ago.
"Sutcliffe is a beautiful new facility," she said. "It served well as a media center (in 2000), and it would be an even better place for media due to its renovation."
Davies said another factor working in Centre's favor was that the same steering committee that oversaw the college's successful efforts to land a debate in 2000 and oversee it remains intact this time around. The other co-chairman of the committee is Dr. Clarence Wyatt, history professor and special assistant to President John Roush.
In addition to boasting Newlin Hall as the debate site and an expanded Sutcliffe Hall to serve as the media center, and having the facilities to accommodate a third-party candidate, Trollinger and Wyatt have cited these other factors in Centre's favor:
* Centre and Danville are the smallest college and town to have ever hosted a CPD debate and that "small town America" atmosphere went over well with the CPD, the candidates and their supporters, and the media.
* The number of competitors is much smaller this year. In 2000, Centre was among 43 applicants. This year there are only 16, and Centre has a leg up as a former debate site that was highly praised by the CPD for the 2000 vice-presidential debate.
* Two features of Centre's 2000 debate plan - creating a backup electrical power system and developing a "speakers' park" outside Newlin Hall where people of any political persuasion could speak - were adopted by the CPD and are now required for all debate hosts.
* The debate would coincide with the beginning of the bicentennial celebration of the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln, who happens to be both one of the nation's greatest presidents and a native of central Kentucky.