Apologies from school and venue to Ridgeland High School familie - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Apologies from school and venue to Ridgeland High School families

Posted: Updated:
WALKER COUNTY, GA (WRCB) - There are 3,866 seats in Memorial Auditorium in downtown Chattanooga, but not enough to house all family and friends of Ridgeland High School graduates.

"I mean its upsetting. We came from Alabama to see my niece graduate and I didn't event get the opportunity to see her walk across the stage," says Kobina Buchanan. It's a thought echoed by more than 200 others.

"If anyone missed that...it is a terrible thing and we hate to see something like that happen," Walker County Superintendent Damon Raines says.

Raines says Ridgeland's graduating class was the biggest in years, 273 graduates walked across the stage. Some graduates brought up to 13 family members with them.

"They did not inform us that they were going to have their largest class but they also felt they had plenty of seats to deal with," Mark Stone, the director of civic facilities, says.

Stone had to make the decision to lock the doors as the ceremony began. "I started to look at capacity from that standpoint. It was evident we were really, really close at 7 p.m.," he says.

There were about 40 empty seats that were handicap accessible or reserved for faculty members, just outside the auditorium hundreds of angry friends and family waited. "To open the door for 42 people would not have been a wise choice," Stone explains.

Moving forward Memorial Auditorium and Ridgeland High School are looking at options to make sure this doesn't happen again. For instance, a possible ticket process and moving faculty members on stage.

"It was something that really wasn't thought through properly and we'll make sure we do that for the next event," says Raines.

"I would like to apologize. We didn't expect it and I think we handled it the best we could and we're trying to handle it for the future and I am very sorry for those families," Stone says.
Powered by Frankly