Solution set for high school graduation, construction overlap |

Solution set for high school graduation, construction overlap

Dylan Silver

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Class of 2011 graduates and Vikings football have struck middle ground. The renovation of South Tahoe High School’s stadium was expected to overlap with either graduation or the football season, but after some maneuvering, the school board managed to make everybody happy.

“Every attempt was made to accommodate everybody,” principal Ivone Larson said.

Due to a scheduled early start for construction on the field, Harvey’s was being considered for graduation, Larson said. But after input from students and parents and some inquiry about the construction schedule, the school board made the decision to hold graduation on the field and push the construction start date back.

The graduation will move the completion of the construction into mid-August – weeks before the school’s first home game on Sept. 2 – rather than early August, but the construction schedule isn’t unreasonable and they might even be finished before the team’s first full-contact practice slated for Aug. 15, Morales said.

“I would’ve been the first of like nine generations to not walk on the football field,” said senior Chris Garrett.

Nick Pillsbury, the student body president and high school student representative to the board, told the group at the April 26 meeting that the senior class’s academic achievements should come before athletic needs.

“It’s a casino,” Pillsbury said. “We want to graduate where we started. We want to graduate outdoors, surrounded by trees and nature. It’s tradition”

Parent Dru Blair also spoke at the meeting. He’s watched his daughter, who’s set to graduate this year, and her class overcome challenge after challenge since their 8th grade school year from construction at the middle school to the Angora Fire to the cancellation of plays and events due to construction at the high school.

“This year’s senior class has been kind of stepped on since 8th grade,” Blair said. “I talked to a lot of parents before I spoke and I talked to kids. Half of them weren’t even going to go to graduation if it was at the casinos.”

School board president Wendy David didn’t realize how much holding the ceremony on the field meant to many of the students, she said.

“Sometimes something that’s not a big deal to someone that’s removed is a big deal to someone who’s involved,” she said. “It was kind of a consensus that this was best.”

Both Pillsbury and Blair said they were happy with the board’s decision and even school district facilities manager Steve Morales, who re-worked the construction schedule for the football field, said the decision was understandable.

“We were kind of going forward with what we thought was a unique and positive solution to starting the project early,” Morales said. “When it became clear that there was a strong desire for the kids to stay on campus, I certainly understand that too.”

“It makes it a little tighter for us, but we don’t think it’s unmanageable,” he said.

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