After reviewing all options, a decision was made earlier this week for St. Clair High School to have its annual spring prom in the gymnasium.
A final decision was made late Tuesday, and students and staff were informed Wednesday.
“All things considered, it was our best option,” SCHS Principal Kevin Hillman told The Missourian. “We looked at a lot of possibilities, took everything into consideration and made what we thought was the best decision.”
High school officials had made reservations for the prom at two places, but both fell through. Originally, the May 4 event was scheduled to take place in the Gala Events Center in Union, but that facility closed late last year. A second venue was found in Bourbon, but those reservations were canceled when it was discovered that facility was double-booked for that night.
“When we found out we no longer had a place to have prom, we started working on other options,” Hillman said.
Those options, he said, including seeking other venues, changing the date and conducting the event in the SCHS gym.
In mid-February, Hillman said he was being cautious about housing the event in a bar, hotel or other similar location. He also said he had concerns about finding a venue that is large enough to house the 450 to 500 students who will attend.
One of the problems Hillman and other organizers faced was that proms almost always are scheduled in the spring toward the end of the academic year, and venues get filled quickly by schools months in advance. With only a handful of possible dates and even fewer nearby venues added to the difficulties.
“We pick a date (for prom) that affects the fewest number of students,” Hillman told The Missourian in mid-February “And the date is set well ahead of time so people can plan. That makes finding a place now even more difficult.”
Originally, Hillman said changing the date of the prom would be “Plan C” while using the SCHS gym was considered “Plan D.”
Hillman told The Missourian that a potential alternate location was found, but it was in downtown St. Louis. Concerns centered on safety and the distance of the facility from St. Clair, so it was decided that location probably would not be the best option. That led discussions back to the gymnasium.
“We have a marvelous gym, but because of that, it is used by a lot of groups and classes,” he said. “So shutting it down early to decorate it would affect a lot of people. Plus, there would be the expense and time of pulling that all together.”
But, in the end, that proved to be the best option under the circumstances.
Hillman said the gymnasium would be closed for about a week before the event so decorating could take place. He said plans will be made on how to accommodate the many physical education classes and other groups that use the gym.
“We have to figure out how we’re going to rearrange things to accommodate gym classes and things like that, but we’ll get it all done,” Hillman said. “We will have a wonderful prom. And it will be safe and fun.”
Prom is the third of three formal dance events SCHS has. Homecoming takes place in the fall while Courtwarming is a winter event that just occurred this past weekend. Both of those dances take place in the high school cafeteria.