Lowcountry spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on graduation ceremonies

Updated: Jun. 2, 2017 at 10:38 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - For almost every district in the Lowcountry, tens and thousands of dollars are being spent on graduations at the North Charleston Coliseum.

Those costs remain the same even for the schools that are an hour away.

For many high school students in the Lowcountry their special day isn't at their school, or even the town they live in, but at the North Charleston coliseum.

"Why can't we have our graduations in Berkeley county?" Sarah Duncan said.

This weekend is Berkeley County's time to take over the coliseum for graduations, and for some people making the drive down the highway, it's not ideal.

"It's pretty rough, basically driving and waiting in traffic and then trying to get there and see who's graduating," Dezahane Fennick said.

The school districts and local colleges are paying big bucks to have it at the indoor arena.

Trident tech with a graduating class of 800 students paid $26,000 on their commencement program.

For local high schools, Dorchester District 2 is paying almost fifty grand for three graduating classes. Their cost came to $46,500. Each individual commencement ceremony cost $15,500.

Charleston County School District costs came to $157,000, with each ceremony costing $14,472.

Berkeley County School District spent $85,085 for graduation, and each commencement ceremony cost $14,180.

"Spending all our money out of Berkeley county in Charleston County," one parent said.

Berkeley County School District says using the Coliseum for graduation ensures enough space for all the graduate family and friends to attend. It also takes out the concern for weather.

"Using the Coliseum for graduation ensures space for all the graduates and the many family and friends who come out to support them on such a special occasion. Additionally, as the Coliseum is an indoor arena, the graduations are not subject to weather concerns. Finally, when considering the large crowds that graduation draws, hosting graduation at the Coliseum is a safer option as it allows for better traffic flow both coming into and leaving graduation." Berkeley County school officials said.

For some families coming out today, they're just fine with making the drive.

"We don't have a facility like this in Berkeley County, so we don't really have a choice," one woman who was attending a graduation said.

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