May 10, 2011 7:01 PM by Andy Koen
For the first time in more than a decade, students in Lewis Palmer School District 38 will not celebrate graduation at the US Air Force Academy. The district has held commencement ceremonies at Clune Arena since 1999 when the school gymnasium became too crowded.
However, school administrators say the heightened security measures enacted last week at the Academy and other at military installations in the wake of the death of terrorist Osama bin Laden have led them to make a last minute change of venue.
Graduation will take place on Tuesday, May 17, at New Life Church. Lewis Palmer High School principal and incoming superintendent John Borman say the decision was made because of concern that graduation might be canceled completely by a terror threat.
"Trying to get people in, have the ceremony, (get them) out and then the next group in with that type of security clearance was going to be a challenge where we just worried that it might be frustrating for our families," Borman said.
Graduation ceremonies have been held at New Life in the past. The building's 4,000 seat auditorium is regularly rented out for large events, and Borman says the church was extremely accommodating of their last minute request.
"They've bent over backwards to make it work," Borman said. "Normally, the rental charge is fairly significant and they've waived that for us, they've really worked hard to work with us and we really appreciate that."
He also says neither of the high school gymnasiums are large enough to hold the ceremonies and that the weather is too unpredictable to use the football stadium.
Borman plans to return to the Academy next year.