High school grad­u­a­tion moves to San­tander Arena

Safety con­cerns at sta­dium prompt school board de­ci­sion on venue

The Boyertown Area Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

Due to un­re­solved ques­tions about the safety of the high school sta­dium, the Boy­er­town Area School Board has voted to move the June 7 high school grad­u­a­tion to the San­tander Arena in down­town Read­ing.

The March 13 vote was by a 7-2 mar­gin, with board mem­bers Ruth Dierolf and Chris­tine Neiman vot­ing against the move.

Be­fore the vote, board Pres­i­dent Donna Usav­age said the ad­min­is­tra­tion and fa­cil­i­ties com­mit­tee had looked into the ques­tion and de­ter­mined that not only was the San­tander op­tion the least ex­pen­sive, it was ac­tu­ally a lit­tle less ex­pen­sive than hold­ing it on school grounds.

Neiman dis­puted this, say­ing the district would be pay­ing the cus­to­di­ans re­gard­less of where the grad­u­a­tion was held and their salaries should not be in­cluded in the cost cal­cu­la­tion.

“It’s a very sad day,” said Neiman, who ar­gued that hold­ing the grad­u­a­tion in town was a boost to Boy­er­town merchants. “Now peo­ple will spend money in an­other com­mu­nity.”

Neiman also asked, “how do we guar­an­tee some­one won’t get hurt up there?”

Dierolf said she could not sup­port the change. “My con­stituents want it at an ed­u­ca­tion fa­cil­ity.”

The ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­ity at which the an­nual high school grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony is usu­ally held, how­ever, is un­der some scru­tiny.

A pre­lim­i­nary re­port re­leased Jan. 30 out­lined struc­tural prob­lems at the 33-year-old sta­dium, most of which are due to pen­e­tra­tion by water.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, the sta­dium, which has seat­ing ca­pac­ity for 2,800 and was built with a con­certed com­mu­nity ef­fort in1985, now suf­fers from nu­mer­ous dan­ger­ous con­di­tions.

Since it was built, the sta­dium has been used for grad­u­a­tion cer-

emonies although, as an out­door fa­cil­ity with lim­ited parking and seat­ing ca­pac­ity, it has at times posed chal­lenges on rainy grad­u­a­tion days and lim­it­ing tickets to seven per grad­u­ate.

Board mem­ber Bran­don Foose said that he hopes re­pairs to the sta­dium can be com­plete in time for the 2019 grad­u­a­tion, not­ing that 92 per­cent of the stu­dents polled fa­vored the San­tander Arena op­tion.

Board mem­ber Clay Breece said he was pleased that us­ing San­tander Arena would not cost ad­di­tional money, but noted that with the venue be­ing al­most 20 miles away, that fewer peo­ple would at­tend the grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

A re­port by Barry Is­sett & As­soc. on sta­dium re­pairs con­cludes that “the en­tire section of wall along the track is un­safe and a po­ten­tial haz­ard.”

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Among other prob­lems the re­port cited, water has pen­e­trated into the su­per­struc­ture of the sta­dium.

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