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Park High graduation to move offsite this spring

The Park High School Class of 2007 will not be graduating in Wolfpack Stadium on Friday, June 8, because the stadium's field will be under construction.

Instead, officials have preliminary plans to hold the event at 2 p.m., Saturday, June 9, at Aldrich Arena on White Bear Avenue in Maplewood.

Wolfpack Stadium has been the graduation venue since it was built in 1976, according to Park High School Principal Walt Lyszak.

The stadium track and field reconstruction will begin in April, according to Phil Kuemmel, activities director for secondary schools in the south half of the district. The new field is expected to be finished by the time fall sports begin in September 2007.

Lyszak said he asked architects if there was a way to use the stadium just for the one night and was told that the field will be off limits until it's finished. The school's only option was to find somewhere else to hold it, he said.

"The suggestion to use Woodbury High School's stadium was not well received," he said. "Anyway, it is smaller than Park's."

Wolfpack Stadium seats 3,000 but only one side of it's seating 2,000 is used for graduation.

There will be from 500 to 550 graduating, he said. Woodbury, Stillwater, Tartan, North and White Bear Lake high schools, all of which have more students than Park High School, hold graduation at Aldrich Arena.

"Other schools do fine," he said, adding there will be more time between the ceremony and the all-night graduation party for families to gather and celebrate.

The Roy Wilkins Auditorium was considered as a site, Lyszak said, but people who are elderly or have disabilities, would have to walk or be transported from distant parking lots to get there. There would also be a fee to park in downtown St. Paul, but Aldrich has free parking, he said.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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