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Updated at 6:25 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018.

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Trump rally prep

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Road closures for President Donald Trump's visit to Chattanooga.

UTC's McKenzie Arena will open two hours earlier than planned Sunday for President Donald Trump's rally in Chattanooga.

The change is designed to help security manage the expected large crowd. Doors now will open at 2 p.m., and the rally is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

"It's always a fluid process because things change every day," said Robie Robinson, executive director of emergency services for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Sunday's rally is part of Trump's last-minute push ahead of Tuesday's election to support Republican candidates nationwide by holding 11 rallies in six days across eight states.

Chattanooga is Trump's eighth stop, and his visit here is in support of Senate hopeful Marsha Blackburn, who is running against Democrat Phil Bredesen to replace U.S. Sen. Bob Corker.

The rally is expected to last about an hour, and Vice President Mike Pence also is expected to attend, marking his second visit to the area within a week.

Pence was in Dalton, Georgia, on Thursday stumping for Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor. Kemp will face Democrat Stacey Abrams in Tuesday's election.

Also in attendance will be U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Blackburn and Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden.

Members of the U.S. House delegation from Tennessee, Georgia and possibly Alabama also might be in attendance.

Anyone who wishes to attend must have a ticket, whether it's printed or in digital form on a mobile device.

Robinson did not have the exact details about what will be allowed inside the venue, as that is something the Secret Service and the Trump-Pence campaign will be handling, but he said it likely will be similar to what's allowed on an airplane.

"I would look at the TSA list for an airplane," he said, noting that metal detectors will be in place.

As of Friday afternoon, no designated protest areas had been set, Robinson said. And the university had not received any applications for free speech permits on campus property.

But protesters are planning to meet at 2 p.m. Sunday on Chamberlain Field and include Spectrum, an LGBTQ organization, and Hola, the Hispanic Outreach Leadership Association. Other protesters are expected at the rally, as well as counterprotestors.

Robinson said the university is aware of the Chamberlain Field protesters, and is prepared to accommodate them however possible.

"We want to do what we can to facilitate their ability to do that," he said. "And if they want to move closer, then we will do what we can to help them with that. But, you know, we're going to have to deal with the numbers of people and how many people get there first."

"People have every right to speak out," Robinson said. " We're going to have people that have different opinions, we're going to have people that want to speak out and want to make that known. That's valuable."

Event security will not allow anyone to camp overnight, but UTC officials recommend guests arrive early Sunday. Parking will be limited, and many attendees will have to find street parking or non-campus parking around the city as lots fill.

About 30 to 35 handicap spaces will be available on a first-come, first-served basis in the parking lot at the Blood Assurance building, which is next to the arena, said Obie Webster, executive director of the McKenzie Arena. The earliest guests can arrive at that lot is 9 a.m., and guests must have a handicap sticker to park in the lot.

All streets between East 3rd Street and Vine Street, and from Lindsay Street to and including Palmetto Street will close to all traffic at 10 a.m. on Sunday, according to the Chattanooga Department of Transportation.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga students, faculty and staff are encouraged to use campus access points along McCallie Avenue.

Vehicles on streets or in parking lots inside the closed area will not be allowed to exit until streets are reopened at around 9:30 p.m., and some lots will have to be cleared.

UTC parking lots that will be blocked off include lot numbers 7, 9, 30, 36, 40, 52, and Fifth Street Garage/31. Vehicles in those lots will not be allowed to enter or exit.

Vehicles in the following parking areas will be towed to Engel Stadium:

» Lots 20 and 32 were closed at noon and 3 p.m., respectively, on Thursday and remain closed until after the event ends on Sunday. All remaining vehicles will be towed.

» Lot 35 and West Campus Garage 50 will close on Saturday at 9 a.m. and won't reopen after the event ends on Sunday. Any remaining vehicles will be towed.

Also, Chattanooga's Refuse Collection Center at 4276 Airport Road will be closed due to the closure of Airport Road.

The refuse collection centers located at 4500 North Access Road and 1400 West 57th St. will remain open.

Several buildings will be closed, including the ARC, Maclellan Gymnasium, the University Center and the food court, according to a statement from the university.

Students are being redirected to the Crossroads Dining Facility, which will remain open until 11 p.m. Additionally, the South Campus P.O.D. Market and Subway stores will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

UTC officials ask students to carry their student IDs to ensure access to university facilities.

"We will make every attempt to minimize inconvenience to our university community and ensure our students, faculty and staff remain safe," the university statement reads.

Additional police and security personnel will be in place throughout campus, as well, including all housing locations, the library and the Crossroads Dining Facility.

Staff writer Mark Pace contributed to this story.

Contact staff writer Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423- 757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.

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