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COLONIE — Opting for a bigger venue, the North Colonie Board of Education voted to move Shaker High School’s commencement ceremonies to the Times Union Center rather than the SEFCU Arena on the UAlbany campus.
The TU Center holds 15,000 people while SEFCU holds 4,500. Shaker has, in the past, filled the SEFCU arena to capacity.
“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,” according to a statement by the district. “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.”
In addition to the increased capacity, the TU Center offers padded seats instead of bleachers, a video board to feature graduates and speakers and more handicapped seating.
The TU Center will provide nearly two dozen security, an option not available to the district at UAlbany, and families will be allowed to park in the adjacent parking garage and offers a newly renovated, spacious lobby to gather before and after the ceremony.
There is also the possibility of a block park on Pearl Street, live streaming and optional DVD sales.
The district was paying about $8,000 for the SEFCU Arena and will pay about $20,000 to rent the TU Center.
In 2019, graduation will be on June 29 at 10 a.m.