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MUSCATINE — Muscatine High School's prom will be held downtown at The Merrill hotel this spring.

Rachel Fallon, an instruction coach, is helping the student council plan and execute the event. She said planning began with resounding agreement on a change of venue. 

"To be honest, we didn't want to have it in the middle school gym again," Fallon said. 

In the past, the Prom has been held in the West Middle School gym.

Although The Merrill Ballroom will cost the school $1,500 for the night, Fallon said that there will be some cost savings. Students, she said spent a lot of time, effort, and money in the past making the space work for the prom. 

"Actually our decorating budget was quite high because we were having to really transform the space," Fallon said. "So we thought the idea of using more of a banquet hall or ball room would help us lower costs for decorations."

Pulling the prom together required the student council to spend the whole Friday before the prom out of class, decorating the gym.

"Our student council members would have to take a full day off of school in order to decorate," Fallon said. "Also it eases the student council's responsibilities. Now they can really enjoy the experience."

He said he hopes the change will boost the quality of the event to "something that feels a little more formal than a gymnasium." 

Fallon explained that with new spaces comes new challenges. Where in the past there were two to four police officers paid to watch the perimeter, this year the student council has budgeted $1,000 for six security guards. 

"Because we are in a different location, we want to make sure we have people watching out," Fallon said. "The hotel just has more nooks and crannies and areas that we don't know about."

"I think the Merril has really worked really well for us," Fallon said. "They were really open to us having prom at this location. There is this reputation that the space might not be respected (by high schoolers), but they’ve really encouraged us to plan with them."

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