Blue Springs sets graduations at soccer stadium

Mike Genet

The Blue Springs School District has moved its commencement ceremonies this month to Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

The district announced Thursday it will have graduations Saturday, July 18 at the home stadium of the Sporting KC soccer team.

Blue Springs South High School will be at 2 p.m. and Blue Springs at 4:30 p.m. Pandemic capacity restrictions in Jackson County prevented the district from hosting graduations at its usual indoor site, Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City.

Normal capacity for soccer games at Children’s Mercy Park is about 18,000, but Superintendent Dale Herl in Independence – which also has moved graduations to the soccer stadium – said he was told stadium personnel can safely seat up to 2,500 people in the stadium.

For graduations, the students will be seated on the field, with family and friends spread out around the stadium.

The Blue Springs district said graduates’ families will receive six tickets apiece for the ceremony, and masks will be required when guests are not seated. Seats will be assigned to accommodate social distancing, and the gates will open one hour before the ceremony. A live stream of the event will be available.

Many school districts in the area typically use the Community of Christ Auditorium in Independence for graduations, but that’s not possible under the Jackson County restrictions, so districts have found other places:

• Independence, July 11, Children’s Mercy Park.

• Fort Osage, July 31, outside the district’s stadium.

• Grain Valley, July 24, University of Central Missouri’s Multipurpose Building in Warrensburg.

• Lee’s Summit, July 26, Children’s Mercy Park.