Graduations Feel The Heat

Today marks the first day in five that did not reach the 100-degree mark. It is only one of 3 4-day 100 degree streaks in history and is the earliest on record. Unfortunately is came during a period when Wake County Public Schools are holding graduations . Thousands of graduating students and their families will sit in oppressively hot ceremonies held in non-air-conditioned facilities. It used to not be this way.

While seven high schools will have the luxury of graduating in air conditioned facilities such as Memorial Auditorium and (Broughton’s) Holliday Gymnasium, ten schools will be graduating in the sweltering environment of Reynolds Coliseum. These schools are being forced into the N.C. State facility because the City of Raleigh closed its old civic and convention center in 2005 in order to make way for a new convention center hotel. This was a facility that was not well-suited for any particular function, but was flexible and offered ample, comfortable space for functions like high school graduations.

The City of Raleigh’s new convention center opens up later this summer, and will be used for future graduations, however the setting of a large, flat, convention floor will be a big disappointment for those in attendance.

We already have a perfect facility for high school graduations, and it is not being used. It’s the RBC Center. The $158M building, centrally located in Wake County, was built with $22M that comes from the county’s hotel and prepared food tax. Additionally Wake County is pitching in $1.5M annually for renovations which will keep the site economically viable. With so much county welfare money going into such a fine facility sitting in the dark this time of year ( webcam ), the least that Gale Force Holdings can do for a major stakeholder in the RBC Center is to operate the building for a day of graduations.

With the lower level split down the middle by a curtain, two simultaneous graduation setups can accommodate a dozen graduations in one day. If graduations in the North End begin at 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm and South End graduations begin at 10am, Noon, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, and 8pm, a total of twelve high schools could all graduate in one day. Certainly one wouldn’t want a cacophony sounds from bands and competing speakers, so a little bit of creative scheduling could offer a smooth experience for all schools involved.

It is unfortunate that the parties involved are having to settle for substandard conditions when perfect opportunities, for which the taxpayers paid dearly, are being ignored.


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  • a gravatar RaleighRob Said:

    Yeah, my NCSU graduation was in Reynolds Coliseum because RBC hadn’t been finished yet, and it rained the night before so they decided against Carter-Finley. Man that was hot and grueling.

    You’re right…between Memorial Auditorium and RBC Center there’s no excuse for these graduations to not be in an Air-Conditioned facility. And colleges too…I think Shaw did theirs at Dorton.
    I’m pretty surprised neither Dorton nor Reynolds has had A/C added yet…crazy. But that’s moot when both Memorial and RBC are there with lots of great seats and A/C. Makes no sense not to use them!

  • a gravatar Wolfpack56 Said:

    Two reasons why Wake County has graduations at Reynolds..
    1: Stanley Cup Finals. The RBC Center has to hold dates for the NHL way before they even know if they make the playoff’s. Wake County wishes to lock down the facility and have plans in order so they do not have to move incase the Hurricanes make the playoffs..

    2: Money.. Yes, the RBC Center rental fees are more then Reynolds. You’re saying why does Wake County have to pay to use a building that is paid with tax dollars? Next time, before you sign a deal with a sports franchise to run your building privately, think about the ramifacations of when you could use it. The Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville is a county run building and they the county can use it anytime for any function. The RBC Center is managed by the Hurricanes and has say on what can be in the building when. It would take the Centeninal Authority to mandate they host.

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