MORGAN -- Overcrowding at Morgan High School's graduation ceremonies -- usually held in the gymnasium with the auditorium acting as an overflow -- is masking a much bigger issue, says one school board member.
"The problem is bigger than whether or not the auditorium is big enough," said Ken Durrant, a member of the Morgan County School Board.
"We're not even going to be able to hold an assembly and accommodate everyone."
The auditorium's capacity of 800 is barely able to accommodate the 700-member student body, Durrant said. If future classes are any indication, Morgan High's enrollment will increase in coming years.
"We're going to need another facility. The board ought to consider something off the wall: tearing down the auditorium and building something that will suit Morgan for the next 20 to 30 years," Durrant said.
"The facility was really great in '66, but it's no longer adequate for what Morgan's needs are."
The suggestion was offered as a way to keep graduation ceremonies in the county.
"You need to maintain some of your own tradition here, and the facility itself is not big enough," said Durrant, a Morgan High alumnus who appreciates the annual lighting of the M on the mountainside on graduation night.
"Graduation is in Morgan unless you can get Weber to turn their W upside down and light it."
Fellow board member Earl Ericksen solicited public feedback on moving ceremonies outside the county.
"There is great concern for not moving (graduation ceremonies)," he said.
At last year's graduation ceremonies, each high school senior was given four tickets to the main facility where the ceremony was to be held.
"Graduates had to make a decision of which set of grandparents to invite," Ericksen said.
But, said board Chairman Joey Skinner, "it's not a new problem that we can't accommodate everyone."
School officials had considered holding ceremonies on the football field, but the idea was dismissed because additional seating would have to brought in and inclement weather could pose a problem.
Building a new auditorium would likely mean voters would have to consider a bond election, board members said.
The board officially tabled any decision to move graduation ceremonies but wants residents to be aware of the issue.
"Maybe in a period of three years, it might evolve to something different than it is now," Ericksen said.
"We'll still hold graduation in the high school auditorium," Skinner said. "We've never had a request to hold it anywhere else, but we anticipate that request."