JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
BURNET — Two days after Burnet school district officials announced the 2015 Burnet High School graduation was moving from Bulldog Field to the high school gym, they found a way to return it to the traditional outdoor venue.
On March 25, Burnet Consolidated Independent School District officials released a statement that, because of renovation projects at Bulldog Field, the May 29 commencement ceremonies would be moved to the gymnasium.
“It wasn’t our first choice,” Superintendent Keith McBurnett said. “Our goal the entire time was to have graduation at the stadium.”
McBurnett said a reason BCISD released plans to conduct graduation indoors was to answer questions regarding the commencement venue.
“Parents shared with us not knowing (where graduation would be) was causing much angst,” he said.
Even after the initial announcement, he and other BCISD administrators continued to work with Symmetry Turf officials, the company hired to install artificial turf and a new track at the football field, to find a solution to keep graduation in the stadium.
Those efforts paid off, McBurnett said.
The company agreed to suspend construction May 28-29 and provide “a flat, level, dirt field for graduation at the stadium,” district officials announced March 27.
“Up until yesterday, that option wasn’t on the table,” McBurnett said. Originally, the projected cost for providing this feature was $12,000. “They stepped up and are doing something at no cost.”
As a result of that decision, BCISD has agreed to allow Symmetry Turf to begin construction April 6 instead of April 20, which still impacts stadium parking and walkways. Still, the effect on the track-and-field runners and other sports teams is minimal, and an extra cost is avoided, the superintendent said.
But most important, McBurnett said, graduation will be held in the largest outdoor venue owned by BCISD, which allows seniors and numerous family members and friends to attend.
BCISD officials had tossed around several solutions such as conducting the event in a city of Burnet facility, the superintendent said.
However, going to another part of Burnet came at a projected cost of $36,000 that included setting up a stage, audio, seating for attendees and other parts of the ceremony and didn’t address the possibility of rain, McBurnett said.
Another possibility was having the ceremony in a stadium in a different city.
“We heard from people (that) they didn’t want our seniors to graduate from someone else’s stadium,” McBurnett added. “We exhausted every option.”
Now, however, the ceremony is back at Bulldog Field. High school officials informed the school’s Class of 2015 at 8:15 a.m. March 27.