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Commencement May Move to Sanford Center

Kim Powell | Staff Writer | 02/09/2011

The commencement ceremonies for both BSU and NTC may be moved from the John Glas Fieldhouse to the Sanford Center.

“The Sanford Center was built in a partnership between the City of Bemidji and BSU,” said Michael Meehlhause, co-president of Student Association, “and this is an opportunity to kind of strengthen that relationship.”

In comparison to the Glas, the Sanford Center offers better air circulation and air conditioning, and has a higher capacity: the Glas can hold 2,399 people on the bench-style seating, whereas the Sanford Center can seat 4,700 guests.

Parking is also a factor in relocating the graduation event. The Sanford Center has approximately 1,200 public parking spaces, whereas at the Glas a lot of guests must park on the street.

The Sanford Center also offers better access to technology, such as the video board.

“For example, if I was walking up there, then I could be on the video screen with a close up of me. It would be kind of cool,” said Meehlhause.

Handicap accessibility will also be considered during the decision-making process. The Glas entrance is a staircase without a handicap ramp or elevator nearby.

“Even though the Glas does have opportunities for it [handicap accessibility], it’s still very difficult,” said Ashley Tenney, co-president of Student Association. “Especially with grandparents who want to watch the graduation.”

The Glas is expected to be renovated in the future. It will become a turf field with a weight room for many of BSU student athletes and for students who participate in intramural sports.

“I think if they are going to renovate the Glas, it might serve as another purpose,” said Tenney. “So they’re going to have to move [commencement] anyway.”

Student Association passed the motion to move the commencement ceremonies to the Sanford Center and was told they would have confirmation with a few weeks.

Bob LeBarron, executive director of the Sanford Center, refused to comment on the subject until an agreement has been made about the move.  More information about commencement will be available once it is confirmed that it will, or will not, take place in the Sanford Center.