FOLEY – Students starting their senior year later this month at five Baldwin County high schools will conclude the term with graduation ceremonies in Foley.
The ceremonies will take place at the Foley Event Center.
Most graduation ceremonies take place in the school’s football stadium. Improvement projects on several fields will not allow the facilities to be used for graduation in May, David Thompson, executive director of leisure services, said.
“There are several capital projects that they have going on that will be replacing the turf in several football stadiums, which will not allow them to have graduations within their hometown,” Thompson said. “So the county has approached us about potentially hosting four additional graduations during this time.”
In addition to Foley High School, Elberta High, Spanish Fort High, the Baldwin Virtual School and Daphne High will hold commencement ceremonies at the Foley Event Center. Elberta High’s graduation will be at 1 p.m. May 13, followed by Spanish Fort High the same day at 7 p.m.
On May 14, the Virtual School will hold graduation at 1 p.m. with Daphne High at 7 p.m.
Foley High School’s graduation will take place at 7 p.m. on May 15.
Fairhope, Robertsdale and Baldwin County high schools will hold graduation ceremonies in their stadiums in May.
Thompson said Foley officials will work with other cities and schools to work out security and other arrangements.
Mayor Ralph Hellmich said Foley is also working out what fees to charge the school system for the use of municipal facilities. He said the city does not charge a fee for Foley High School.
“But with the others, there will be some fees associated with it,” Hellmich said. “The Baldwin County Board of Education will be saving some money because of the efficiency of being in one place. We don’t have to rent four sets of chairs. We’ll be able to do all of it on one site. So it is a partnership where we’re trying to help them. They did also want to make sure that we don’t work our folks to death and that’s why we’ve got to partner on this.”
Thompson said the city will also limit seating at the Foley Event Center. He said the facility has a capacity of 4,000.
Hellmich said Foley High School has held graduation ceremonies with 4,000 in attendance at the Civic Center in the past and the event went well.
Each student will receive a certain number of tickets at graduation practice. That number will be based on the number of graduates for that school. Everyone attending the graduation ceremony will be required to have a ticket.
Each school will be required to have at least 10 staff members at the ceremony to take tickets and help with the event.