U.S. Cellular Center releases parking information and security protocols for Buncombe County school graduations, including free parking for graduates

Thomas Wolfe Auditorium exterior



Three Buncombe County high schools will hold graduation this weekend at the U.S. Cellular Center.


AC Reynolds, TC Roberson and North Buncombe graduating seniors will all walk across the stage to receive their diplomas at the U.S. Cellular Center.


The City of Asheville is proud to host this important civic event each June.  Changes in both security levels and parking/traffic plans will be in effect for the 2019 end-of-year graduations.

First, everyone is encouraged to build in lots of travel time so friends and family don’t miss a moment of each given ceremony.  The Center’s doors will open 1 hour prior to scheduled graduation time for each school.  Students will receive information directly from their given school concerning their scheduled arrival times.


Graduation schedule, June 15

  • AC Reynolds High School: 11 am. ceremony; doors open at 10 a.m.
  • North Buncombe High School: 3 p.m. ceremony; doors open at 2 p.m.
  • TC Roberson High School: 7:30 p.m. ceremony; doors open at 6:30 p.m.


Security protocols

All students and public attendees will be subject to bag checks and pat downs. Please allow additional time to park and enter the building, as these additional security measures will slow the entry process into the facility.

High school graduation non-permissible items will include:

  • Weapons of any kind, including but not limited to guns, pocket knives, knives, pepper spray/mace, flares and fireworks
  • Drugs and other illegal substances
  • Noise-making devices (i.e. air horns, drums, whistles, etc.)
  • Flashlights, laser pointers and other distracting light producing objects
  • Wheeled conveyances other than wheelchairs and strollers (i.e. skateboards, skateshoes, hoverboards, rollerblades, bicycles etc). Strollers are not permitted in seating areas and must be left in designated stroller locations outside of the seating area.
  • Large bags (greater than 12-by-12”)
  • Signs, banners, posters, flags etc. may not be larger than 11-by-17” and may not be attached to a stick; these items also may not be hung or attached to any part of the building, display obscene/offensive language or images or obstruct the view of other guests.
  • Guests wearing full face masks or full face paint will not be permitted entry.
  • Other prohibited items: balloons, chairs, two-way radios, beach balls, permanent markers, stickers and spray paint.



Guests attending each graduation must present a ticket issued by the graduating school.  Guests ages 2 and under will not require a ticket, with exception of guests attending North Buncombe’s graduation at 3 p.m. in the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. North Buncombe guests all must present a ticket, inclusive of infants.


Designated drop-off location

New for 2019 is a designated location for drop-offs centered around graduations.

Drop off designated location will be in the metered parking spaces in front of 68 Haywood St.  Meters will be bagged and signage will be in place for drop-off needs. Asheville Police will manage the location any vehicles left unattended will be towed at the owner’s expense. All drop-offs should occur here, including family guests, students etc.


Directions to drop-off from I-240

From the Montford Exit off I-240 navigate to Haywood Street heading south:

  • After passing straight through the stop light at Haywood Street and Page Avenue, pull into the metered parking spaces along the right hand side of the street.


Parking garages

Download the free Asheville App on your mobile device for its Find Parking feature to get real-time information on parking spaces available at the City and County’s six downtown parking garages. You can also check this USCC parking link for more parking information.

The following County parking garage will provide free parking for vehicles that have a graduate in cap and gown in the vehicle.

The following City of Asheville parking garages will be operating in ‘Special Event Parking Mode.’  Parking rates will be $9/car.

  • Civic Center Parking Garage: $9/car – DIRECTIONS
  • Rankin Avenue Parking Garage: $9/car – DIRECTIONS

The following City and County parking garages will be operating with standard posted rate parking.

  • Wall Street Parking Garage (City) – DIRECTIONS
  • Biltmore Avenue Parking Garage (City) – DIRECTIONS
  • College Street Parking Garage (County)  – DIRECTIONS


Surface parking lots

Numerous surface parking lots will be operating allowing guests access to their lots for a fee.  The majority of these lots are private lots with rates that are not controlled by the City or the County.  City of Asheville Lot 18, directly across the street from the U.S. Cellular Center, will be designated as parking for those with accessible needs. A state-issued hang tag will be required. Additional accessible parking spaces will be available on the fifth floor level of the Civic Center parking garage.


ART bus options

Several Asheville Redefines Transit (ART) buses run either past or close to the U.S. Cellular Center, including the N, N1, N2, N3, E1, E2 and 170 routes.

Check RideTheART.com for routes/times and be aware that while Sunday service is offered on all routes, it ends earlier in the day.

You can map your ART bus route to the USCC using:

  • Transit App: This app offers real-time information on bus arrivals and can even help map your bus ride to get you where you want to go.
  • Google Maps Transit: Very easy to use. Enter your starting location and final destination, and the time that you are leaving, and it will generate your trip schedule, including transfers to different routes.

The ART Station at 49 Coxe Avenue, is a 5-minute walk from the US Cellular Center and provides transit access to the entire city.