Graduation will take place at the Paramount Theater in Downtown Oakland due to Witter Field renovations, H1 Program Manager Pete Palmer said.
According to their website, the Paramount Theater holds 3,040 people. General admission tickets will be given out to families, Palmer said.
“I never pictured [graduation] at the Paramount theater,” senior Laila Adarkar said. “[I] have always pictured graduation on Witter or somewhere in Piedmont.”
Renovations, starting on March 4, 2019, will also affect spring sports, with track and field practicing at Laney Community College and lacrosse at Mills College Palmer said.
“I think we’re only going to have three practices a week which is going to suck, and we’re going to have to take a bus there which is really irritating,” said track and field athlete sophomore Jackie Remick.
The earliest Witter will reopen is Aug. 1, 2019, Palmer said, but Athletic Director Alphonso Powell said he will have back up fields for all games and practices until mid-October just in case the renovation takes longer than anticipated.
“We have no idea,” Powell said. “Once they start doing construction, it could be any [length of time].”
The school district will pay for the renovation of Witter with the Measure H1 Bond, a Piedmont voter-approved measure funded by property tax revenue, Palmer said.
The cost of the renovation is expected to be $3.5 to $4 million dollars, Chief Financial Officer Ruth Alahydoian said.
“[The] Bond Measure will pay for the relocation of graduation, and for renting the fields for the [sport] team[s], so it really shouldn’t affect our general fund,” Palmer said.
The district will provide transportation for the lacrosse and track and field teams from Piedmont High School to their respective fields, Powell said.
¨It’s going to be annoying because we are going to have to drive further away from Piedmont than we did last year, but I don’t really think [the renovation is] going to change [our season] that much,” lacrosse player sophomore Anne O’Neil said.
The weight room on Witter will still be available for use by sports teams Palmer said.
“People have to be patient,” Powell said. “Construction, especially in school areas, has huge regulations, for good reason. If we are going to build a facility, we want to make sure its safe for students.”
Visit TPHnews.com to read more from The Piedmont Highlander.