By Rick Palsgrove
The next Groveport Madison High School graduation ceremony will not be held outdoors at Cruiser Stadium.
Groveport Madison Schools administrative officials decided the 2020 graduation ceremony instead will be indoors on June 5 at 7 p.m. at World Harvest Church, 4595 Gender Road, Canal Winchester.
Originally, the Groveport Madison Board of Education planned to vote at its Sept. 11 meeting on whether or not to move the ceremony, but instead the board turned the decision over to Groveport Madison Superintendent Garilee Ogden because board members felt the matter of choosing a graduation site was not an issue requiring board action.
“We had to consider weather and logistics,” said Ogden regarding the graduation site move, adding that in Franklin County only Groveport Madison and Bexley held outdoor graduation ceremonies.
She said the large crowd attending graduation at Cruiser Stadium in 2019 resulted in parking problems at the high school and traffic backing up on South Hamilton Road. She noted the 565 parking spaces at the high school are not enough to handle the large crowd graduation attracts.
“Also, Cruiser Stadium can hold 4,000 people and our gym can hold 1,500, so holding it in the gym is not feasible in bad weather,” said Ogden.
Ogden said holding the ceremony at World Harvest eliminates many concerns.
“There would be no weather problems, it seats 6,400, it has high quality audio-visual that their staff operates, there’s abundant free parking, and it is located near our district,” said Ogden. “We’re trying to find a place close by and convenient to accommodate everyone.”
Ogden said it will cost the district $10,000 to rent the World Harvest facility.
Regarding other possible venues, Ogden said the Celeste Center in Columbus costs $5,500 to rent and also requires a $5 per car parking fee, but it is not available on the date the district needs. She said the Schottenstein Center at The Ohio State University costs $23,000 to rent. There are also costs involved if the district were to hold graduation at Cruiser Stadium. Ogden said it takes district workers two days to set up the stage and technology in Cruiser Stadium for graduation. She said the district has to pay for security to protect the stage and technology for those two days, plus there are costs for overtime pay for the technical staff.
“Plus, if it rains during set up, we have to take it all down and move it inside,” said Ogden.
Ogden said Canal Winchester, Hamilton Township, and Pickerington school officials all indicated to her that they have had no religious philosophical conflicts or other problems about holding their graduation ceremonies at World Harvest Church.
“Because graduation’s not a religious event,” said Ogden.
Groveport Elementary roof vents
The board approved contracting with Dynamix Engineering to replace 21 Groveport Elementary School “gooseneck” style roof vents on at a cost of $37,180.
“The goal is to identify and correct the continued roof leaks at that building,” said Groveport Madison Deputy Superintendent Jamie Grube.
He said the vents have been a problem for many years including being blown over by the wind and as a possible water leak sites in the roof.
“The vents were identified by roofing contractors, an engineering firm, and a mechanical contractor as a problem area,” said Grube. “This work does not guarantee this will fix the roof leaks that we have chased for years, but is a reasonable step in eliminating a water access point by replacing the vents with a mushroom style vent and make roof curbs that are not water access points.”
Cruiser Campus renovations
The board approved contracting with the Roberts Service Group for $55,825 for renovations to the Cruiser Campus, located at 4400 Marketing Place, Suite A, Groveport.
“The work will create a kitchen area with serving lines, hot and cold food storage with exterior door access for food transport, a lunchroom area, and relocate the current staff lunchroom to a current storage area of the building,” said Grube.
He said the reason for the renovations is that the Cruiser Campus now serves a larger student population.
“The previous model of transporting boxed lunches to the school is limited in practicality from the health department standards with more students and not in line with Ohio Department of Education goals of choice and quality of food service,” said Grube.