The First Lady will be coming to Topeka in less than four days. A large amount of planning has gone into making this event as seamless as possible for the City of Topeka, the graduates and their families.
There have been many changes to the Kansas Expocentre’s security protocols over the past few days, but as the Senior Recognition Ceremony gets closer, the final details are being ironed out.
8,500 seats fill the Kansas Expocentre, waiting for the First Lady’s speech Friday evening.
“Doors open at 3. People are encouraged to arrive as early as possible, because at 5 o’clock, the doors close. No one will be able to enter after 5 o’clock,” said H.R. Cook, General Manager for the Kansas Expocentre.
All of the seats are assigned to ticket holders, including dignitaries, students, and their families. But for security reasons, there will only be one entrance to the ceremony on Friday night. Guests will file up the stairs to the Northeast entrance in order to get into Landon arena.
There will also be a handicap accessible entrance for those who need it.
“Expect full bag check. And they will walk through magnetometer,” said Cook.
The First Lady will land at Forbes Field on Friday and travel an undisclosed route with her motorcade to the Expocentre.
“They can expect at some point probably a motorcade coming through the City of Topeka, and I guarantee that there will be an advanced team in front of it and the streets will shut down. And it will be for a very short period of time,” said Ron Brown, USD 501 Police Chief.
The secret service, the Topeka Police Department, Topeka Public Schools Police Officers, Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office, and the Kansas Highway Patrol will be assisting with security the night of. After the ceremony, Topeka Boulevard and 21st will be packed.
“Our recommendation to the general public, is they might want to avoid Topeka Boulevard 21st street, from say about 6:30 to around 8, 9 o’clock at night,” said Brown.
Cell phones, small bags, diaper bags and still cameras will be allowed inside the arena during the ceremony, but bags larger than 12 inches, tripods, food and beverages are not permitted. Organizers ask you leave anything unnecessary at home. They will offer concessions.
Hand held signs will be allowed during the ceremony. The signs must have positive messages and cannot have company logos on them. They also must not block the view of anyone.
The entire taped performance will be available online for 30 days after the ceremony.