Colleges near uptown try to plan for DNC

Colleges near uptown try to plan for DNC

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by BEN THOMPSON / NewsChannel 36 Staff

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WCNC.com

Posted on February 28, 2012 at 7:49 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 28 at 8:01 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Colleges in and around uptown Charlotte are trying to plan for the unpredictable—the week in which the Democratic National Convention takes over the Queen City.

Johnson & Wales administrators say they're meeting every other week to discuss plans. As it stands right now, the school says the first day of the fall semester is September 4, the same day the convention kicks off in uptown.

"We can change and adjust as we go along," said Melinda Law, spokeswoman for the university.

The school's planning to have students move into dorms the week before Labor Day, a first for the school, to allow them more time to get into the dorms before convention forces the closure of nearby streets.

School officials say they've also turned down requests to house any security personnel.

"We've had a lot of phone calls from police, Secret Service.  They've been wanting to use our space.

But we've tried to explain we'll need it for our students," Law added.

Johnson & Wales' biggest challenge will likely come on Thursday of the convention week. That's when the President is expected to give his address on the final night of the convention at Bank of America Stadium.  The stadium backs up to dormitories that house 750 students.

"You got to imagine we're not going to be able to get around," said Law.

Law says the school expects to accommodate security sweeps, road closures and possible building closures.

Johnson C. Smith University, just outside of uptown, might house some security staff, which could push back their classes by a week.

In the First Ward, UNC Charlotte's classes at its Center City building will likely be moved to its main campus northeast Charlotte.

CPCC will shut down for the week and serve as a security hub.

Schools say they're waiting to hear from the Secret Service about security zones and road closures before they make further plans, but that information probably won't be released until summer.

 

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