Snyder and Currie pay to open residence halls early for Sunflower Showdown

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Football head coach Bill Snyder and athletic director John Currie share a laugh before tipoff of the title game of the Big 12 Championship at the Sprint Center on March 16, 2013. (Emily DeShazer | The Collegian)

The K-State residence halls will reopen the day after Thanksgiving, giving students that live on campus an opportunity to watch K-State football play Kansas without inconveniencing themselves with temporary housing.

The halls, which would normally be closed until Sunday Nov. 30, will now open on Friday Nov. 28 at 1 p.m.

According to a K-State Sports article released Tuesday, Athletic Director John Currie and head football coach Bill Snyder will each pay $2,500 to “cover the university’s overhead costs” for opening them early.

“Our student body means so very much to our football program and to assist in a way that will help them is the very least that we can do,” Snyder said in the article. “We have the best student section in the country, one that attends our ball games each and every week in record fashion, and everyone in our football program appreciates them so very much. We will always do anything we can for them.”

The game has added significance for some of the players, Currie said in the article

“Although our home finale is a month away, Coach Snyder and I wanted to go ahead and make this commitment now so that our students could start planning their return in time to fill the best student section in the country for the (Kansas) game, which will be Senior Day and the final home game for 21 of our players,” Currie said.

Derek Jackson, director of K-State Housing and Dining Services, said all residence halls (including Putnam, Van Zile and Boyd) will be open. The funds donated by Currie and Snyder will cover the cost of staffing the desks in each of the nine residence halls.

Jackson said four residence halls are open during breaks. In these cases, students pay extra to stay in the halls. During these breaks, meals typically are not served in the dining halls and the early opening during fall break will be no exception.

“(The students) are on their own,” Jackson said.

Andrew Whiteside, sophomore in kinesiology, said that he isn’t worried about having to get food for himself.

“I have friends around Manhattan, so I could probably just go over and eat there,” Whiteside said. “(I might) just buy something at Wal-Mart and cook it there.”

Jake Kehr, sophomore in mechanical engineering, said he will definitely come back early if it’s an option.

“I personally am one that likes to be here as opposed to home,” Kehr said.

Whiteside said he likes living in the dorms because of who he lives with.

“It’s always nice to stay in the dorms,” Whiteside said. “All my friends are here.”

Jackson said the idea of opening the residence halls early for the Kansas game started to be considered when the football schedule was announced. However, there are variables that made scheduling when to open the residence halls difficult.

“Part of (it) is that you don’t know when the game is going to be,” Jackson said. “Is it going to be a night game, or is it going to be during the day?”

According to Jackson, this is not the first time major athletic games at K-State have happened during vacations – and it likely won’t be the last. Last year, the Sunflower Showdown was in Lawrence, this year it is in Manhattan. Jackson said the Big XII conference has talked about scheduling rivalry games that way in the future, where the home game between the two schools will alternate locations every other year.

“They want to do this for TV,” Jackson said.

Jackson said to help staff work during the extra time, housing and dining will try to offer incentives. However, he does not expect difficulties in finding staff willing to work.

“Many students want to work during break periods,” Jackson said. “A lot of the students tell us they like coming back for that.”

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Shelton grew up in the desert southwest. A native of Lancaster, California, he mostly grew up in south Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Kansas and graduating from Junction City High School. He started working as a news writer for the Collegian in 2009 before taking a three-year break from college. He returned to K-State in 2013 and has since worked for the news desk, feature desk, as a copy editor and now as a sports writer. He enjoys tap dancing, writing anything possible, reading court opinions and watching Arizona Coyotes hockey.