The University of Alabama is a busy place this week as the Capstone prepares to host both the Alabama High School Athletic Association's Super 7 title games and the fourth Republican Primary Presidential Debate.

The football games begin Wednesday and run through Friday, and the debate will be held in the Moody Music Building on Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, almost 40,000 students are preparing for winter finals and the residents of Tuscaloosa must continue to go about their daily lives.

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Chad Tindol, Chief Administration Officer at The University of Alabama, was on campus Monday to talk about hosting the debate and the preparations school staff are taking to minimize the impact of these events on students and citizens alike.

(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)
(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)

"You've all seen what our teams do here at the University in terms of preparing for a football game and the level of detail that goes into that," Tindol said. "This is a new event for us. We've certainly hosted presidents and vice presidents and Supreme Court justices, but we've never had a debate here, so there were some new wrinkles in our plans, but our teams have put together our buildings, our traffic plans, our security plans -- they're so good at what they do, this was a normal day for them."

The RNC has confirmed the Debate will feature New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor and diplomat Nikki Haley and pharmacological entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Tindol left questions about the debate and its participants to the Republican Party and NewsNation, who are presenting the event. He only said he was happy the Capstone could play host and would welcome any similar opportunity in the future, whether with the GOP or the Democrats.

"As a public institution, we're not in the business of taking a position on political candidates or political issues," he said. "We're at our best when we are hosting those types of discussions and focus on discussing how to make our country better. I hope that people see that's what we're dedicated to at the University of Alabama. That's one of the best things that higher education does and one of the best things this institution does."

In a press conference often interrupted by the roar of lawnmowers and trucks working to get Moody ready to host an audience of about 1,000 people at the debate, Tindol said the average Tuscaloosa resident should not be inconvenienced by it.

"I wouldn't try to go down 2nd Avenue this week through campus, it will reopen on Thursday maybe Friday. In general this event is confined to the space where we're at right now. parking is across the street, the event is at Moody Music Hall and the perimeter will encircle those things, so unless you're within this one-block radius it shouldn't have much effect at all. We certainly hope folks will tune in and see our beautiful campus on TV."

The debate will take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. on NewsNation, hosted by Megyn Kelly, Elizabeth Vargas, and editor Eliana Johnson.

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Gallery Credit: (Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)


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