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Archive for Saturday, April 5, 2003

City, campus prepare for post-game

April 5, 2003

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Jayhawk fans might worry about the outcome of tonight's Final Four game between Kansas, but it's what might happen after the game that worries Lawrence and Kansas University officials.

Fears of wild post-game celebrations have area officials on their toes.

Medical services throughout the community are staffed and ready to deal with any special medical needs that might result after tonight's game, said Carol Seager, director of Watkins Student Health Center.

"We're obviously hopeful that our services won't be called upon, but if that is the case, we're definitely ready to go," Seager said.

Seager said medical entities such as paramedics and hospitals are preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.

Batten down the hatches

Lawrence and KU officials are doing the same.

In the Oread and downtown areas, the city is trying to keep Dumpsters and trash cans empty as possible to prevent people from throwing or setting fire to the trash.

"It's one tactic as a precaution," City Manager Mike Wildgen said.

Lawrence Police advised downtown merchants to remove all items not bolted down from the fronts of their businesses so that potential vandals would have fewer items to wreck or throw.

Melodie Christal, co-director of Downtown Lawrence Inc., said she had seen other cities have problems, after both victories and losses, where post-game festivities became dangerous.

"We just hope the celebrating doesn't get out of hand and people don't get hurt," she said.

The city is taking another routine precaution in setting up a staging area for fire, police and medical services who will be prepared for excess calls.

Wildgen said to prepare he has looked at what has happened in other cities during post-game activities.

"There's nothing wrong with celebrating; we just need to be prepared for people who might do it inappropriately," said Wildgen.

Campus precautions

Chilly weather might keep people inside, but many fans were planning to watch the game at Memorial Stadium, where the game will be broadcast on the Megavision videoboard.

Memorial Stadium gates will open at 4 p.m. The event is free and will include Baby Jay, a pep band and recorded music. The videoboard will show season highlights until the start of the game at 5:07 p.m.

In case of inclement weather -- there's no rain in today's forecast, but cool temperatures are likely -- the stadium watch event will be canceled and a message will be posted at www.ku.edu. Officials said they would announce their decision no later than 1 p.m.

KU already has served notice that some of the main campus thoroughfares -- including Jayhawk Boulevard -- would be closed to vehicular traffic during and immediately after the game.

"Last year they were closed for 15 minutes," said Lt. Schuyler Bailey of the KU Public Safety Office. "People came and everything was fine, so we opened them back up again."

KU libraries are closing at 4 p.m. and will resume regular hours Sunday.

Bars ready for fans

The Granada, 1020 Mass., is showing the game on a 30-foot projection screen. Its doors open at 1 p.m. and the bar will serve food and drinks.

During both of last week's games against Duke and Arizona, the Granada hit its capacity of 613 people.

James Radina, Granada owner and general manager, said some from the crowd ran down Massachusetts Street celebrating.

"We're serving all plastic and cans of beer, no glass," he said.

Abe & Jake's Landing, 8 E. Sixth St., is bringing in one 9-foot and two 20-foot projection screens for the game. General manager Mike Logan said he expected a crowd of families, college students and alumni.

"We didn't have any problems last year after the game, even after our loss," Logan said.

Logan said he was staffing Abe & Jake's heavily for the game. He said he expected people to be well-behaved, as it was for the 2002 national semifinal game, but added that he would be ready in case anything got out of hand.

As KU, the city and downtown businesses prepare for large crowds, they hope they can do it all again Monday -- if the Jayhawks defeat Marquette today.

"People are going to be out celebrating a win tomorrow night," Bailey said Friday. "As in the past, they'll come up here, they'll high-five each other, they'll show their support for the team and program ... and hopefully it will stop right there."





-- Kelly McNearney is a Kansas University journalism student.

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