After thoughtful deliberation and discussion, the Board of Education for the North Colonie Central School District has decided to change venues for the Class of 2019 Commencement Ceremony. Instead of holding graduation ceremonies at SEFCU Arena on the campus of the University at Albany as in years past, ceremonies will instead take place at the Times Union Center.
A number of considerations went into making this decision. First and foremost, moving ceremonies to the Times Union Center will upgrade the experience for our graduates and their families. The Times Union Center is the premiere entertainment venue in Albany County, and will provide the district with a state-of-the-art experience now and into the future.
Part of this upgraded experience will be the increased seating capacity (15,000 versus 4,500), padded seats available for all guests instead of bleachers, and the video board at the Times Union Center, which will feature the graduates and speakers and bring those in attendance closer to the ceremony than ever before. Increased handicapped seating is also available in the Times Union Center, and those seats will have unobstructed views of the ceremony.
In addition, the Times Union Center allows the district to greatly increase security and parking at the event site. The Times Union Center will provide nearly two dozen security personnel for the event, an option the district did not have previously. Families will be able to park in the adjacent parking garage and get to the venue without worrying about adverse weather conditions. The newly renovated lobby of the Times Union Center also provides a convenient, climate controlled area for families to gather both before and after the ceremony.
These are just some of the advantages that the district gains by moving its graduation ceremonies to the Times Union Center. Others include the ability to hold a block party on Pearl Street after the ceremony, live streaming and optional DVD sales of the ceremony.
Extra features, space, and enhancements do come at a greater cost, as the district will be paying approximately twice as much to use the Times Union Center as it was SEFCU Arena. However, the Board of Education and district administration feel the extra cost is worth it for our graduates and their families so they can enjoy the best experience possible on such a special day in a safer and more secure environment.
Graduation ceremonies will be held on June 29th, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at the Times Union Center. More details about the ceremony itself will be released as the date approaches.