(Beaver Dam) Just hours after the Beaver Dam High School announced plans to hold their 2020 graduation at HH Derleth Field later this month, severe storms caused damage to the site. The football field’s bleachers were blown east, away from the press box and onto the edge of the track surface, taking out a portion of the fence around the track. The bleachers also incurred structural twisting and bending. The southern portion of the bleachers were town off and blown onto the football field. District officials say they are still committed to hosting the graduation ceremony on June 28th at 2pm on the field but may need to be more creative with seating.
Lincoln Elementary, Washington Elementary, the Educational Services Center and the Beaver Dam High School also sustained damage during Tuesday night’s storm. Additional damage was reported at the greenhouse and baseball scoreboard. The district is working on tree removal, documentation and consulting with their insurance company. Superintendent Mark DiStefano says this is not the reality they wanted to navigate right now but is the card they have been dealt. He says they will come together and work to bring resolution to this new challenge.
For the graduation ceremony, seniors will be seated on the football field and spaced appropriately. Each graduate will be allowed up to four family members to attend. Original seating plans called for a combination of bleacher and lawn seating; the latter will require people to RSVP ahead of time so the school can properly space out the football field. Handicapped seating will also be made available. It is not known how Tuesday’s storm will exactly impact the seating arrangements. The ceremony will consist of student processionals, speeches, administrative addresses and graduates will be able to cross the stage to receive their diploma.
The district is encouraging people to practice social distancing, wear face masks and to stay home if exhibiting any signs of illness. Disposable face masks will be available on-site for those in need. The district says they have discussed their plans with the Dodge County Health Department and will continue to monitor the situation up until the planned ceremony date. If a rise in Dodge County cases would occur making public gatherings difficult, necessary adjustments will be made following public health guidelines. The rain date is scheduled for Monday, June 29th at 7pm.