Memorial Stadium at Kansas University is back in play as a potential site to host both Free State High and Lawrence High School graduation ceremonies.
Renovations at the KU football stadium had been cited as a reason that graduation could not take place there this year. But the university has pushed back the field work.
“The university has backed up their renovation plans for the turf at Memorial Stadium,” said Rick Gammill, the director of special operations, safety and transportation for the Lawrence school district. “They backed that up a week, so that if we’d like to, we could use Memorial Stadium for the commencement ceremonies.”
The district had already reserved the field at Haskell Indian Nations University in case Memorial Stadium was unavailable. The board will hear the options at its meeting tonight, including back-up plans in case of bad weather. “You still have to set up both high school gymnasiums so that in case of inclement weather you can hold the ceremonies there, and that includes the issuance of tickets,” Gammill said.
Gammill said Allen Fieldhouse would be the preferred rain-out venue because it can hold a large crowd, but renovations there took it out of the running this year.
Gammill said the hope for the near future would be to have graduation ceremonies at the schools’ new outdoor football fields, which are to be completed soon, with Allen Fieldhouse as a back-up in case of inclement weather.
The back-up plans will be presented to the board tonight. Lawrence High would issue five tickets per graduate, and Free State High would hand out four. Overflow crowds would be able to watch a live feed of the ceremony in the auditoriums and cafeterias of each school.
The board meets at 7 p.m. today at district headquarters.