The Bottom Line
By Bill Nestor, Sports Editor
The start of this basketball season brought a new look to Notre Dame High School.
A major project that included a new roof and windows for the entire school, as well as a complete overhaul for the gymnasium, has been realized at the Clarksburg based school. There were several individuals and businesses involved in the project that had nearly a million dollar price tag. The end result is not only a top notch facility, but a renewed sense of pride for those in and around the storied school.
I’ve been fortunate to broadcast several Fighting Irish games in the last several seasons and the hospitality that I received there is overwhelming. Steve Petitto has been a staple at Notre Dame dating back to his playing days when he starred for the Fighting Irish, to now where he is as close to the programs as possible.
I had my first look at the renovations a few weeks ago and I had the opportunity to talk with Petitto about them.
Notre Dame High School was built in 1955, so it’s safe to say that over the years both alumni and friends of the Catholic based school have grown to significant numbers. Since the inception of the school, there have been minimal upgrades on the gymnasium and over time there was concern. “It started about a year and a half ago when we first came up with the idea. It was originally because of the bleachers. They were to a point where they were unsafe” explained Petitto.
With the safety of the kids being the main concern, an opportunity for development and vast improvement was born. “We put together a committee and just started from the ground up.” Great ideas are formed everyday but it takes a special people like Petitto to take that idea and make it a reality. The initial stages of this project were crucial. “We have had great support from our alumni, the Catholic community and the Notre Dame community to get this thing going.”
Once the funding was secured to start renovations, the next step was to select individuals and businesses to get the job done. “Local people like Mark Bonamico and Paul Dupont have been very instrumental in helping us do little things. Obviously, we had the big contractors doing a lot of the work, but there were a lot of little things that needed to be done. Without the help of our local community and local alumni, we wouldn’t have been able to get it done.”
The top notch gymnasium not only benefits current players, but also those to come. “It’s great for the young kids coming up through the system that will get the chance to play here, as well as the kids that are in high school now.” The current boys basketball team was the Class preseason #1 ranked team in West Virginia and they have taken on all comers, which have brought the elite to Clarksburg. “We are playing probably the toughest schedule, at least in Class A, in the state and we have had a lot of ranked teams in here. Every night we are not quite standing room, but we are getting pretty close to it.”
Those that have been in attendance have been impressed with the upgrades and they have been very vocal about them. “The alumni and the older people who have been through the school, come back to see the gymnasium and they are so amazed at how good it looks. They talk about the good old times when they remember this guy playing and that guy playing.”
The combination of improvements and strong play on the hardwood, have spurred additional community interest. “People that I see on the streets, or in passing, say they want to come over and see the gym. Obviously, we are putting a good product on the floor with the team this year and also people are very interested in seeing the gym.”
Any project this size comes with a tremendous amount of work and effort, but once it is completed, it can be looked back upon as a true value to those it impacts. “This has been great for both Notre Dame High School and the community.”
That will do it for now. Until next week … take care and God Bless!