Despite the fact that students have only had to hold one graduation ceremony indoors in the past 15 years, the Park City High School has been reevaluating its contingency plan. Typically, graduation is held outside in the early summer weather, but like any major event, counting on sunny skies is a lot like asking for bad weather.
"Every year it is a nail biter with the weather," said Park City High School Principal Bob O'Connor. "There is a consensus in the community that holding the graduation ceremony in Park City is the best option. I've been to several were the weather was beautiful, but last year was gusty and that caused issues with the sound system which raised a lot of these concerns."
If it rains on the big day for seniors, high school officials have been determining whether or not to move the ceremony to the Salt Lake Valley to accommodate the large number of guests. An online survey was sent out to parents, and 60 percent responded that they would prefer to keep the ceremony in Park City.
"From the feedback we received, families want to go out to dinner after the graduation," O'Connor said, "and they want to celebrate locally, whether its dinner or a party."
Parents instead opted for keeping the ceremony local, a scenario that would leave very limited space available to attendees, who may end up settling for a live internet broadcast of the event rather than being able to attend in-person.
In past years, graduating classes have moved into the Eccles Center, which can seat roughly 2,300 people. With more than 340 seniors in the 2013 class, every student would be allotted only four tickets if the event were moved inside the Eccles Center. Because of the increasingly limited space in the venue, high school officials were looking at other venues in Salt Lake City. The University of Utah, a major venue for high school graduations across the valley, was suggested, but if the school were to move the event to the valley, the date of the actual ceremony would have to be moved back one week, O'Connor said.
The high school is currently looking creating an online option to watch the ceremony, where grandparents and extended family could log in from home and watch online. In past years, those who wanted to watch the graduation ceremony were forced to watch it from another part in the school over televisions.
"Adding an online option may be a good compromise," O'Connor said. "With the limited space, it seems like the best option available to us."