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Tribune-Star file/Austen Leake New venue: Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South high schools will host their own graduations in the spring due to the Hulman Center renovations.

Crystal Dalton says it takes a village to successfully raise children and get them through high school to graduation.

But now, it appears many in her family’s “village” may not be able to attend her son’s commencement ceremony, which is being moved to the North Vigo gym because of construction at Hulman Center, which won’t be available to the high schools.

Her son, Jacob McKinney, graduates May 31.

“I am definitely concerned about not having enough tickets” so that all family members who want to attend, can attend, she said. “We have a village that has raised Jacob through the years.” By the time parents and step-parents attend, that limits who else will be able to go — the family will have to choose among what siblings, grandparents and other relatives can be present.

“I was quite disappointed this morning,” she when she learned about the limits from an article on social media.

She hopes to take advantage of a ticket exchange in which those who don’t need all of their allotted tickets turn them back into the school to re-distribute to those who want more.

The district announced Friday that Terre Haute North and South Vigo high school commencement ceremonies will be in the high school gymnasiums this year because of ongoing construction at Hulman Center; the facility is undergoing a $50 million renovation.

West Vigo has held its ceremonies in its own gymnasium for many years.

The district also announced commencement dates, times, and locations for its high schools.

At North Vigo and South Vigo, gyms will have capacity for 2,000 on commencement day, not including the graduating classes. Both schools will provide graduates with a set number of tickets. Ticket distribution, along with plans for a ticket exchange, will be announced to students by individual schools. The North Vigo and South Vigo High School parent boosters will coordinate tickets for their respective schools.

The school district is also exploring a webcast for North and South Vigo High Schools to accommodate home viewing of the commencement exercises.

Bill Riley, VCSC director of communications, said that North and South will have a ticket exchange for families that don’t use their full allotment of tickets. In turn, families who want more will be able to request them.

“It’s our hope that through the ticket exchange and exploring a webcast, that we’ll be able to accommodate everyone who wants to view a North or South student graduating,” Riley said.

Plans are still being finalized for North and South, and another option that may be reviewed is allowing people to watch commencement — via technology — while seated in the auditoriums.

District officials did brainstorm about the best locations to accommodate the large numbers attending North and South commencement, and decided the gyms, with a capacity of 2,000 people not including graduates, “is the best choice” since Hulman Center is not available, Riley said.

“We’re looking forward to making this a special event for students and families, but we’re definitely having to react to the Hulman Center renovation this year,” he said.

On its Facebook site, the district told those providing feedback that “the gyms at North and South are the largest venues in Vigo County available to us for graduation, since the Hulman Center renovations will be occurring in late May.”

The Vigo County School Corp. has known for about a year that Hulman Center would not be available for high school graduations this spring, said Mark Alesia, ISU director of communication.

After ISU’s own commencement in May, chairs are being torn out in the upper bowl and being re-covered.

“We’re not having any events in Hulman Center, including opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics, from ISU commencement to November,” Alesia said.

Dalton understands that Hulman Center is not available, but wonders if other options had been considered. It’s tough to choose which family members get to attend and which ones don’t. “Graduation is a big deal in a child’s life,” she said.

Many have helped encourage her son on his path to graduation. “It’s sad to think some may not be able to be there” when he gets his diploma, she said.

Kim Strain, whose son and step-daughter will graduate from South Vigo in May, said people should remember the event “is for the students — don’t make them feel bad because their loved ones are going to miss it.” Families, extended families and friends can have parties before and after the ceremony to celebrate with graduates.

Strain’s family will be affected by limits on tickets, but she believes the school district is doing the best it can.

The times and locations for VCSC graduations are as follows:

• Booker T. Washington High School: Friday, May 29, 6 p.m., Terre Haute South Vigo High School Auditorium.

• Vigo Virtual Success Academy: TBD.

• McLean High School: Friday, May 29, 7 p.m., Terre Haute South Vigo High School Auditorium.

• West Vigo High School: Sunday, May 31, 1 p.m., West Vigo High School gymnasium.

• Terre Haute North Vigo High School: Sunday, May 31, 3 p.m., Terre Haute North Vigo High School gymnasium.

• Terre Haute South Vigo High School: Sunday, May 31, 6 p.m., Terre Haute South Vigo High School gymnasium.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.

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