January 12, 2018 12:56 PM
Super Bowl LII, scheduled for Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium, is expected to draw huge crowds into downtown Minneapolis, resulting in street closures and limiting parking.
But for North Central University senior Lizzy Swanson and her fellow students, the big game is providing an extra week off classes as well.
That's because North Central's campus is nestled in downtown Minneapolis, just blocks away from the site of the big game.
"Everybody here is pretty excited about it," said Swanson, a member of the school's women's basketball team. "But we're all wondering if it's going to be as crazy as everybody says it's going to be."
Especially for students like Swanson, who will remain on campus that week - though her team will have to journey to the University of Northwestern in Roseville to practice as the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee uses a number of facilities at North Central for a variety of support functions.
In all, the school says 200 students will need to stay on campus due to jobs or athletics. And special precautions have been taken for them.
"We're in a zone of a high-security event, and we felt it would be appropriate to identify those students as belonging here at this time, so they will have special security identification," said Nancy Zugschwert, North Central's director of communications.
Zugschwert said the school decided early on classes could not be in session that week.
"We just came to the conclusion that doing business as usual that week would be unpredictable, if not impractical," she said.
Of the school's 1,100 students, nearly 200 commute. That group includes Jonathan Thomas.
"When I heard the school was closing down, it was actually a sigh of relief," he said. "I'm really happy about it."
Other students plan to head home for the week.
For Madison Norman, who is from Texas, the timing couldn't be better.
"It's very odd," she said. "It's not what I would normally expect for the middle of January, but it works out for me because I get to go back to the warmth."
The school shortened Christmas break and classes will be held on President's Day to make up for the week off.
Jessica Miles and Frank Rajkowski
Updated: January 12, 2018 12:56 PM
Created: January 11, 2018 03:18 PM
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