After Six Graduations back to back two days last week at the Civic Center, I once again find myself saying that the Pensacola Civic Center is a great facility for holding commencement ceremonies.
Between graduations, the facility staff made our visit very comfortable; The polar Ice Cold Air Conditioning was just right-considering that it was 90 degrees outside and extremely humid--with on and off Rainstorms.
Food was available, thanks to Gerald Boone and his excellent cooking!
Heck, we even had time between ceremonies to conduct official business--an executive session over bargaining issues held Thursday afternoon between graduations.
And the parents and families of the graduates appreciated the venue as well. Ample parking, lots of seating, adequate restroom facilities, etc. etc.--and a great view of the platform for all attendees.
Although in the past I have questioned the cost of utilizing the Civic Center for graduations, and I still think we should negotiate a better deal, this year's cost of $26,000 seems to be worth it. My first year on the Board, I objected strongly to the nearly $40K price-tag for holding ceremonies in the Civic Center. These days, we use the facility for two days, versus three, and the price-tag comes down to about $4,300 per school for 6 schools. I can live with this price because the Civic Center is such a comfortable venue for the students and their guests on such a special occasion. My feeling is validated even more upon reading the article in today's PNJ about the train-wreck disaster that was Pace High School's graduation this past Saturday.
From the article:
"later officials moved the event to the school gym. Things took a turn for the worse as some family members and guests of the 413 graduates made their way to the facility and weren't allowed inside because there was no room, said Theresa Scott, 37, the parent of a Pace High senior..."There was pushing, shoving and screaming," she said. "I am standing there crying, and I've got my hands cuffed over my son's ears. He's 11. He is just crying."
I feel for the Pace families that missed the graduation ceremonies. Maybe next year they'll pony up the $4,300 to hold the event at the Civic Center. Maybe they should do one day and do Milton, Pace and Gulf Breeze.
That will be little consolation for this year's Pace High School Graduates, though.
I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.