Change of time and venue to benefit KISD’s Class of 2014

Posted Monday, Aug. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Keller district’s Class of 2014 will have a new time and place to celebrate graduation.

The four KISD high schools will hold graduation ceremonies on May 31, 2014, at the University of Texas at Arlington’s College Park Center.

District officials started looking at other options for commencement about two years ago because of mounting frustrations with the Fort Worth Convention Center. There were complaints about parking, video and audio quality, issues with access to the Internet, and to make matters worse, costs were increasing.

“Two years ago we started looking at alternatives because the convention center is kind of dated,” said Dustin Blank, executive director of leadership. “We’d been using them so long, but we wondered is this the only option?”

Blank said that a group of high school principals and central office administrators began to look at venues. With graduating classes often surpassing 600, the options to accommodate thousands of family members and friends were limited.

The group focused primarily on the University of North Texas Coliseum, the Irving Convention Center and UTA’s College Park Center, which opened in February 2012.

College Park Center, with a seating capacity of 6,300, is smaller than the Fort Worth Convention Center, which seats 11,200. Administrators decided the new arena was large enough and had the added benefits of free parking, state-of-the-art video and audio services and great access for the handicapped.

The UTA events staff is also very helpful, Blank said. He had the opportunity to attend a nephew’s graduation there and was very impressed with what he experienced as a guest.

The one problem with the site is that it was not available the weekend after classes finished. Officials opted to schedule the four graduations on May 31, the Saturday before classes end.

Blank said officials are working on the senior finals schedule to make sure that students are able to complete all requirements prior to the ceremony. The earlier date has the benefit of letting graduates begin their summer plans sooner, especially if they want to attend college summer classes which often start in early June.

Superintendent Randy Reid said the earlier graduation might make for “a smoother close out of school.”

“We’re excited about this change,” Reid said. “It will provide a better experience for our students, parents and their guests.”

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