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STVM’s LeBron James Arena opens its doors

12/19/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Collins

DOWNTOWN AKRON — St. Vincent–St. Mary (STVM) High School officially opened its new LeBron James Arena with a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony before the first home varsity boys basketball game of the season Dec. 14.

Shown above, at center is James’ mother, Gloria James, cutting the ribbon at the dedication. She is shown with, from left, team physician Dr. Mike Magoline; boys basketball coach Dru Joyce; Patty Burdon, director of public relations for STVM; Ellen Zegerra, director of advancement for STVM; and Mike Ochsenhirt, chair of the STVM Executive Board and construction manager for the arena.

Last year, James pledged $1 million to completely renovate his alma mater’s gym, which was gutted and rebuilt to include new hardwood flooring, bleachers, branded scoreboards, lighting and all new sports equipment, according to STVM officials. The renovation also included new locker room facilities for male and female student athletes.

“The days I spent in that gym playing basketball were some of the best times of my life, and I want the current [STVM] students to have an equally amazing experience during their time there,” said James in a press release. “The people at [STVM] helped me grow both as a person and as a basketball player, so this is my way of thanking them and helping future generations of Irish athletes also be proud of where they came from.”

In addition to basketball, the gym, shown below, also will be used for volleyball, wrestling, school assemblies and various school events.

Housed on one of the new gym’s walls, STVM and the LeBron James Family Foundation also unveiled a 3-D timeline of James’ personal, professional and philanthropic history. Shown at right middle is Gloria James unveiling the wall.

During the game that followed, the boys varsity basketball team lost 53-52 against Cleveland Central Catholic.

Shown at right bottom, at left, is STVM’s Johnnie Robinson (No. 2) making his way to the basket.

Shown at right top is STVM’s Jalen Hudson (No. 3), at right, putting the ball in the basket.

— By Kathleen Collins

Photos: Krista Galloway

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