URBANA — After four decades of holding graduation ceremonies at the former Assembly Hall, Urbana High School is returning its cap and gown ceremony to the home of the Tigers.
Construction work at State Farm Center will prevent Urbana from holding its high school graduation there for the first time since 1973, Principal Matthew Stark said.
With the home of the Illini out of the picture, the district is using the situation as an opportunity to showcase its new sports complex.
Stark told the school board Tuesday night that this year's event will be held at McKinley Field on May 31. Gates open at 9 a.m., with festivities following at 11. The school is renting ramps and a stage upon which to present the diplomas at the field, he said, and plywood will be put in place to protect the turf on the football field.
The high school will make use of the sports complex's scoreboard to present a slide show featuring the Class of 2014 on the big screen.
Since an abundance of space will be available for family and friends wanting to attend, Stark said no tickets will be necessary.
Stark told the board that this year's seniors will have a larger role to play in the 2014 graduation exercises than in the past.
"Come early, have a seat and enjoy the weather," he said.
While Stark is hoping for good weather on May 31, if rain or other weather activity should intervene, the event will be moved to the Urbana Middle School gymnasium, he said.
Stark said he hopes that new traditions will be established, allowing Urbana to possibly continue holding graduation ceremonies on the high school campus even after work at State Farm Center has been completed.