Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News
Southern Methodist University will be in the national spotlight Thursday with the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
The secret service is stepping up security on the campus of Southern Methodist University in advance of Thursday’s dedication of the Bush Presidential Center.
The invitation-only grand opening is scheduled to host all of the living presidents, from George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, to Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush.
Tuesday, there’s a final flurry of activity at SMU, setting the stage for the Bush Center dedication. On and off campus, people are preparing for the presidential pomp and circumstance and the chaos that will come with it.
The excitement is growing for SMU senior Courtney Manning, who is getting ready to witness history on campus with the dedication of the George W. Bush Library and Museum.
“I can’t wait to see it,” said SMU senior Courtney Manning. “It’s cool, it’s just crazy.”
The campus is crazy with increased security. There are officers posted all around the Bush Center.
“There’s security in front of that door, all around. You get all the emails: no purses, a lot of people no parking, have to ride shuttles,” said Manning.
Drivers should heed the no parking signs or be prepared to pay the tow bill. In the strip mall at Mockingbird and Bush Avenue, businesses hope to get a boost, but aren’t messing around with cars that aren’t customers. Traffic tips here.
“You’ve got roads shut down. It’ll be nuts for sure,” said Paul VanZant.
With all the presidential presence descending on Dallas, Chief of Police David Brown is asking everyone to keep their eyes open for anything suspicious.
“I think it’ll be a little scary being there with all five presidents, all the security, the risk of something happening,” said Suzy Bashore.
For many, the headaches will be worth it to have access to this piece of presidential history with more than 70 million pages of paper records, 43,000 artifacts and four million photographs.
“My kids are thrilled and love libraries, so being able to go there and having that type of resource to them, being able to point out history and the people who made that history will be an exciting thing to have,” said VanZant.
The Bush Center even has a smart phone app for visitors with tips on parking, tickets, directions, and a guide to get around the complex.
NBC 5 will provide live coverage of the George W. Bush Presidential Center on Thursday at 10 a.m. We will provide an encore presentation Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on COZI-TV on Digital Channel 5.2