Kennewick’s Toyota Center is getting another graduation.
Hermiston joins Kennewick and Richland in holding graduations at the venue after the school board voted 6-to-1 to contract with the arena.
While smaller than either Kennewick or Richland, the 5,300-student district is the largest in Eastern Oregon, and it’s growing.
But the Hermiston High School gymnasium isn’t, said Maria Durón, the district’s communications officer. The students have been limited with the amount of invitations they can give to family members because of the gym’s size.
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Durón didn’t have information about the size of the senior classes immediately available.
The school board directed administrators to begin looking at other options in August. They conducted two surveys, including polling the students and parents directly.
The voices that carried the most weight were the graduating seniors, their parents and school staff.
Karen Sherman, Hermiston School Board
While the majority of residents in the district who responded disagreed with moving the ceremony, the majority of parents and seniors wanted the move, Durón said.
“The voices that carried the most weight were the graduating seniors, their parents and school staff,” board Chairwoman Karen Sherman said. “Of all of the options, holding graduation at the Toyota Center is the best choice at this time.”
Along with providing the district triple the space, the change costs the district $4,500 less, much of that in personel, rentals and decorations, Durón said. Those costs are all part of the money the district will pay the Toyota Center.
The cost savings includes providing transportation to the families unable to make the 30-minute drive to Kennewick.
The move also comes along with accomodating the graduations of the other high schools set during the same weekend in June.
“The date is not someting that we can control,” she said. “It’s based on when the facility is available to use.”
The district signed off on the change for a single year, Durón said. The board will revisit it next year.