Lutheran West High School gym is getting a facelift.

That’s right, for the first time since it opened in 1958, the school spent nearly $139,000 to renovate “The Rock,” named after former coach Karen Whittrock, as part of the school’s ongoing “I Believe in West” campaign. The money, raised from donors and alumni, will go toward what Lutheran West principal Michael Waugh called “crucial improvements” in a newsletter about the campaign.

Whittrock was the first coach to be inducted into Lutheran West’s athletic Hall of Fame as part of the class of 1997. In her 30 years coaching the Longhorns’ girls basketball team, Whittrock compiled a 483-128 record with 15 conference championships, 15 sectional championships, seven district championships, one regional championship and one state runner-up team.

Improvements include updated branding throughout the gym, a refinished floor and digital scoreboards with LED screens that will allow for “video content, digital ads and other content.” The gym will also receive a fresh coat of paint and get new padding at both ends of the court behind the hoops.

Construction began in early May, and Lutheran West athletic director Ryan Miller said he expected the finishing touches to be put on the gym last Monday and that it would be ready for use in mid-June. The move follows last year’s renovations of the school’s weight room, and comes the summer before the Longhorns begin play in the Chagrin Valley Conference, after spending the past 15 seasons with the dissolving Patriot Athletic Conference.

Miller said the timing of the renovations was planned around causing the least disruption possible during the end of the school year. He also said that the gym will be re-dedicated to Whittrock during a girls basketball game next winter.

Along with the gym, the school’s library is also getting renovated for the first time since 1971. An estimated $150,000 was put into the updates.

Waugh said it “requires modernization in order to enhance the learning environment it is able to provide for students.” Private tutoring rooms are being installed as well as what Waugh calls 21st-century technology and a collection of books that mirrors the needs of students and faculty.

It is being rebranded as the “Lutheran West Library” that will include compatibility for laptops, a presentation area and space for “reading and collaboration.”

“I’m so thankful for the generations of students, faculty members and alumni who have been able to utilize the IMC (Instructional Media Center) over the past 40 years,” Waugh said in the newsletter about the campaign. “As education has evolved, so has reading, instruction and technology. These new updates to the library will allow all students of every ability level and learning style to interface with a space that can enable them to achieve academic success.”

Lutheran West is a private college-preparatory high school with about 450 students.

Contact this reporter at jkopanski@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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