WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A bomb threat interrupted the Wichita Heights High School graduation Tuesday night at the Charles Koch Arena on the WSU campus.
Wichita State spokesperson Joe Kleinsasser said WSU officials received word of the threat from officials in the Sedgwick County Emergency Communications office. A news release sent by WSU later said a threat was phoned into 911 that suggested an explosive device might be used at the event.
Three bomb-sniffing dogs were dispatched to the arena where they began clearing the building. University officials said the WSU practice gym, which is part of the facility, was the first building to be cleared in order to allow Heights graduates and faculty into the facility.
Angela Hodge drove 16 hours from Friendship, Ohio to see her niece graduate.
She says she was appreciative of the way the bomb scare was handled.
“I’m glad they took the precautions I would have much rather we had a delayed graduation than to have a problem,” said Hodge.
Officials said they planned to begin the graduation ceremonies at 8 p.m.
Read the USD 259 and WSU statements below.
WSU Statement on Bomb Threat
A bomb threat was received by 911 in Sedgwick County late this afternoon that has delayed the start of the Wichita Heights High School graduation ceremony scheduled for 7 p.m. at Wichita State’s Charles Koch Arena.
The caller suggested that an explosive device might be used at the event.
Since that time, three bomb-sniffing dogs from the Kansas Highway Patrol have been brought to the arena to help determine if the threat is valid. The practice gym was checked and was deemed safe and graduates and Heights faculty have been allowed to gather there.
The public will be allowed to enter Koch Arena once the facility has been thoroughly checked and declared safe for the ceremony.
Plans are tentatively set for an 8 p.m. start if the all-clear is received.
USD 259 Statement on Bomb Threat
As many of you are aware, Heights High School graduation is being delayed due to a bomb threat at Koch Arena. We are cooperating with WSU and Wichita Police as they take this threat seriously and complete a search of the building. Until that safety search has concluded, Koch Arena is closed and the start of graduation will be delayed. Koch Arena will be opened no earlier than 7 p.m. and the graduation will begin no earlier than 8 p.m. Updates will be posted on social media and our website.