Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:54:16 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The former U of L and NBA player who made history on the court scores big in the community where he got his start. The groundbreaking occurred Tuesday morning on the Darrell Griffith Athletic Center at the West End School.
A $2 million gymnasium will be built on the site. Griffith was on hand for the groundbreaking, joined by former classmates, teammates, and coaches.
The West End School is a boarding school for at-risk boys. Griffith attended the school years ago when it was an elementary school. Griffith said Tuesday, "It's an awesome feeling to have something built after you. It's something I never even thought of, but to have it built at the school I went to makes it even more special....This is where I grew up at, my roots, I grew up four blocks from here, and everything I turned out to be started at this school."
Over time, the facilities deteriorated to the point that children often play basketball outside. The school basketball team is also unable to host home games.
The new gym will be nearly 12,000 square feet and will also house a volleyball court and exercise facility. It will also be open to the public. "That's a good thing -- a good thing for these kids," Griffith said Tuesday. "You can see these kids -- they're what this day's all about. They inspired me because they have such a delight in their eyes when people come to see them, knowing that they have hope and aspirations to be whatever they choose to be."
Churchill Downs handed over a $10,000 check Tuesday morning for the school. The project is in the bidding and design phase right now. Construction is expected to start in March.