With the end of the spring semester around the corner for hundreds of University of Wyoming students, renovations underway at the Arena-Auditorium means shifting graduation ceremonies to alternative venues.

Standard spring commencement ceremonies use four venues to host seven ceremonies for each of UW’s colleges in one day.

The largest two ceremonies, Arts & Sciences and Health Sciences, are generally in the Arena-Auditorium. But as Arena-Auditorium renovations enter Phase II, the facility is unavailable for May ceremonies.

“The bottom line is we’re having to make changes because the Arena-Auditorium is offline for May,” said UW President Laurie Nichols during a Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday.

“We do not have access to that facility, and that facility has always been a major component of spring commencement.”

As such, alternative venues were found and schedules readjusted to make room for the ceremonies.

Nichols said UW wanted to avoid using the War Memorial Fieldhouse as it did in spring 2014 during Phase I of Arena-Auditorium renovations because of negative feedback following those ceremonies.

“There were so many complaints about the Fieldhouse,” Nichols said. “It was just not a good facility to hold commencement in. My understanding is there were quite a few complaints from the students and parents who participated in commencement in that facility, so we’ve taken it off.”

According to a report prepared for the trustees on the matter, feedback included complaints about access for people with disabilities, restroom availability and sound quality.

“It means we are putting more commencement ceremonies in fewer facilities,” Nichols said. “With that, we’ve had to accommodate Arts & Sciences on Friday night at 6 (p.m.), and then we start rolling on Saturday going through about 5 (p.m.) or so.”

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