ECU graduation is around the corner and Greenville is preparing

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – It’s an exciting time of year for East Carolina University students as graduation is Friday at 9 a.m. in Minges Coliseum.

ECU police and local businesses are preparing for the celebration.

Traffic is already a nightmare on some Greenville roads with Christmas shoppers, and they’re about to get even busier with thousands coming for the graduation.

ECU Police Captain Chris Sutton says “Traffic will be much more congested than what our motorists are used to around this area and so Charles Blvd., Greenville Blvd., 10th Street, 14th Street, Elm Street, those will be the roads most impacted. We’re not closing any streets but will have officers out directing traffic.”

On the bright side, for area businesses, all the extra people also means added customers.

“Graduations are always great. It brings a lot of people into town and you have a lot of students excited about what they’re going to go on to do, it brings their families and they need a place to celebrate,” Billy Parker, Parker’s Barbecue owner says.

Andrew Kirchner, Blackened Kraken owner and operator, is also looking forward to the weekend.

“It’s an exciting time of year, their families are getting to come in and celebrate with them and we’re normally really busy,” Kirchner says. “Our reservations indicate that and that just shows that it’s going to be a busy time just like every year.”

It all means if you’re in Greenville on Friday, be prepared for the roads, restaurants, and stores to be packed.

Sutton encourages people to leave earlier than necessary to prepare for traffic if they’re attending the commencement or choose an alternate route if needing to go somewhere near Minges Coliseum.

There will be parking lots that will open at 7 a.m., the doors of Minges Coliseum will open at 8 a.m., and graduation will begin at 9 a.m. as around 1,300 students walk across the stage. ECU police expect to see around 5,000 to 6,000 guests.