Planned construction leads to graduation venue change

Traditional Balboa Park graduation venue moved to San Diego Convention Center due to a once conceivable construction project


Brian Mohler

The San Diego Convention Center will host the 2019 City College graduation ceremony. By Brian Mohler/ City Times

Brian Mohler, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Those walking in caps and gowns for graduation this May will be walking a lot closer to the bay.

The 2019 San Diego City College commencement ceremony has been moved to a ballroom at the San Diego Convention Center.

City College President Ricky Shabazz announced the change in venue at convocation on January 24.

Graduation has been traditionally held at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.

The change in venue came due to a proposed construction project at the Plaza de Panama, according to Marciano Perez, dean of Student Affairs.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer has since announced that the Plaza de Panama construction project has been halted.

Some students were surprised to hear about the change.

“Graduation moving is news to me,” said Andrew Leal, Associated Student Government president and biology student who will be graduating this May.

“I see pros and cons to move. There were seating issues at Balboa Park that the larger convention center could resolve, but Balboa Park is closer to campus and captured the essence of City College. The convention center seems less special and unique, although both locations are great for taking pictures.”

Courtesy of Student Affairs
City College’s graduation ceremony will be leaving Balboa Park and heading to the Convention Center, adding space but also $15,000 to overall expenses to the annual event.

City College Public Information Officer Cesar Gumpas said the convention center can host a lot more people.

“It’s a beautiful site,” Gumapas said. “We will have a big space encompassing several ballrooms with big screens to see what’s happening up front.”

Shabazz said he hopes commencement will return to the pavilion because the college currently has a $1.5 million deficit and it’s going to cost more to rent out convention center.

“The Convention Center is a bit more than Balboa Park since we must use convention center providers for all services for the graduation,” Perez said. “The biggest increase in price is the AV and multimedia costs, which added about $15K to our expenses.”

Vice President of Administrative Services Roxann Solis said City College is encouraging people to park on campus and take the trolley to the convention center.

“There will be free parking on campus for graduation,” Solis said. “Parking will be available at the convention center for a fee.”