Ground breaking ceremony held for center named after former UofL player


by Claudia Coffey

Posted on November 26, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 27 at 7:21 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- There was plenty to celebrate at the West End School as officials put the first spades in the ground towards building the Darrell Griffith Athletic Center on the school's property.

It marks significant progress in a school that's been breaking the mold since 2005. For the kids of the West End School it means a gym they can use year round.

"We finally gonna get our own gym cause we are used to practicing outside in the cold. It's fine we are used to it but it takes hard work and grit to do what we do," seventh grader Ray Cowan said.

The $2 million complex is more than 11,000 square feet and will house a regulation basketball and volleyball court. "Dr. Dunkenstein" Darrell Griffith himself,  who the building will be named after, says it was modeled off another familiar Louisville landmark.

"We mocked the basketball court after the YUM center practice facility downtown. I brought an architect down there and said this is what I want it to look like," Griffith said.

The design is breathtaking and its something that the West End School Board Chair Paul Perconti says will open up more doors and opportunities to these students.

"This is a day of a big smile. It is a gate opening event that brings the community inside to the West End School. It's a very exciting day ." Paul Perconti, Board Chair of the West End School said.

In 2005 Perconti was on the Board of Directors of KCD and wanted to find a way to bring world class education to inner city at risk youth. West End School started with only three students now it has 50.

The new facility will give students the kind of sports complex that any student would dream of.

Work is expected to begin in the spring and the final project is expected to be complete by 2014.