About 230 students from Durand High School, about 45 miles northwest of Ann Arbor, will take the field May 10 — the first time the Big House has hosted a prom. And Dexter High School's prom is there May 17.
The stadium has hosted the NHL and is welcoming world soccer powerhouses Manchester United and Real Madrid this summer. It's also is available for weddings and other events.
"We think about the kids and think about opportunities that they're not going to get on their own," said Shannon Knapp, a teacher and prom organizer for Durand High School, near Flint. "These are things that they're going to remember for the rest of their lives."
Students will get a walk-through of the locker rooms and about an hour on the field for photos. Afterward, they'll head for dinner and dancing in the Jack Roth Stadium Club in the east tower of the stadium. The access for special events such as prom, however, comes at a cost.
The rental fee for the Jack Roth Stadium Club, for example, is $9,000. David Ablauf, the school's associate athletic director for media relations, said high schools were charged the same rates as any other party seeking to book an event at the stadium.
This year, the bill for Durand High School's will total about $24,000, Knapp said, and the school hosts fundraisers in the years ahead of prom. Because of the distance to Ann Arbor, part of the event cost will be for charter buses to transport students. Tickets are $75.
"Our fundraising starts as freshmen," Knapp said. "That's what you're working for."
Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, the home of in-state rival Michigan State University, has been available for high school proms since 2007. On average, about five high schools rent out the stadium's Huntington Club each spring for prom, said Heather Bailey, sales manager for Spartan Signature Catering.
"It's a cool banquet room with a killer view," Bailey said.
At Michigan State, however, prom-goers aren't allowed to have access to the field inside Spartan Stadium, Bailey said. Schools are able to rent out a large banquet room for $1,500, plus a $6,000 minimum tab for food and beverages, as well as an $800 dance floor rental fee.