Security, traffic disruptions first signs of Obama visit

By on September 17th, 2012

Update 1:12 p.m.: Gainesville Fire Rescue is increasing staff around the O’Connell Center today in preparation for First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit. Hazmat and Technical Rescue teams are ready as a precaution. The precautions in place today are similar to those enacted at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for a home football game, according to the GFR.

Update 1:06 p.m.: There is a low chance of spotty thunderstorms between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m, according to Jeff Huffman, chief meteorologist for WUFT. However, the chance of thunderstorms increases after 4 p.m. Umbrellas are not allowed into the O’Dome today.

Update 12:22 p.m.: Pro-Mitt Romney protesters against Michelle Obama’s visit are assembling on University Avenue across from the O’Connell Center. They are planning a protest for 2 p.m. Several student protesters have already assembled outside the Swamp.

UFPD Maj. Brad Barber says campus parking restrictions are still in place, but North Lawn — between the Swamp and University Avenue — is open for parking.

Update 11:31 a.m.: RTS bus service in and around the UF campus may encounter delays this afternoon, according to the RTS website.

First Lady Michelle Obama will take the stage at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in a few hours. University of Florida students and local residents attending the event should prepare to go through tight security.

Keighly Chambers

Michelle Obama speech attendees line up outside the O'Connell Center on Monday morning.

There will be “airport-like security” at the O’Connell Center, according to an Obama campaign official. The security measures in place include metal detectors and bag checks.

The following items cannot be brought into the event:

  • Umbrellas
  • Sharp objects
  • Liquids
  • Large bags
  • Signs

Students will be allowed to bring backpacks into the O’Dome but are encouraged not to. Cameras are permitted.

Doors open at noon. Seating is first-come, first-served, but anyone with a ticket is guaranteed entrance into the event, the campaign official said.

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