BAHS graduation returning to BOK Center due to road construction

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Source: Broken Arrow Public Schools

Due to impending road construction near Broken Arrow High School this spring, Broken Arrow’s Class of 2023 will celebrate their graduation on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 at the BOK Center. The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m.

“In consideration of the information shared with us by the City of Broken Arrow, we’ve decided to return to the BOK Center for graduation because of an Oklahoma Department of Transportation road-widening project that is expected to take place along Albany St. during the spring semester,” Broken Arrow Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Steve Dunn said. “We are grateful for an open and honest partnership with the City’s leadership team who contacted us early with their concerns about how this project could impact our event.”

In late fall of 2022, City officials approached the district leadership team with information about a road expansion project that could significantly impact traffic and parking for an event as large as graduation.

“This is a project that will widen Albany Street between 9th Street and 23rd Street from three lanes to five lanes, add a traffic signal at 12th Street, improve stormwater drainage with new curbs and gutters, and enhance connectivity with the addition of new sidewalks on both the north and south sides of the street,” Assistant City Manager of Operations Kenneth Schwab said. 

“With any roadway improvement project comes disruption. We appreciate the longstanding and collaborative partnership we enjoy with Broken Arrow Public Schools, and we look forward to working with the district and Oklahoma Department of Transportation to minimize any impact that arises from this improvement project.”

Further compounding the issue is the ongoing construction on the south end of the stadium.

“The district’s new event center is still being built to the south of Memorial Stadium, and as we experienced during home football games this year, parking will be extremely limited for our families attending graduation. The shift to the BOK Center makes sense.”

The district previously partnered with the BOK Center, an indoor 19,199 seat arena located in downtown Tulsa, to host the commencement ceremonies from 2014-2019 before the pandemic forced a relocation to Memorial Stadium. The move back to the BOK will also remove some of the limitations and drawbacks of hosting an outdoor ceremony in the stadium.

“We are extremely excited that there will be no need to limit the number of tickets allotted per graduate, and because it’s indoors, the inconsistencies of Oklahoma weather will not be an issue,” Dunn said. “Our graduates are special, and we can’t wait to celebrate them in an iconic venue as they say farewell to this chapter in their lives.”

Students and their families will be provided more details about graduation throughout the spring semester. Project Graduation will continue to be held at Broken Arrow High School following the graduation ceremony.

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