Waterford Country School opens its brand new gymnasium dedicated to Otto Graham

WATERFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A welcome sound in the new gymnasium at the Waterford Country School, students dribbled basketballs as the first class took the court.

It was thirty years ago that Otto Graham first envisioned a new gym for the school, but there were a whole lot of other renovations needed first. So, the NFL Hall of Fame quarterback for the Cleveland Browns would have to wait until this dream became a reality.

Executive director Bill Martin gives News 8 a tour.

“This is the entryway which will also be where Otto Graham’s memorabilia is displayed,” said Martin.

Graham joined the board of directors for the school after he settled in the area, and became the football coach and athletics director for US Coast Guard Academy.

“Otto was a great guy,” said Martin. “I knew him back when he was involved in our school since the 70’s and he helped us a lot, not just for the gym, but rebuild our whole campus.”

This gymnasium, which bears his name, is the final piece in a total renovation. It was finished 11 years after his death.

The school is just one of a dozen services this not-for-profit agency provides.

“We do shelter care, foster care, adoption, in home services,” said Martin.

The $2.3 million gymnasium was built mostly by donations and with state-of-the-art technology.

“It’s rubberized a little bit and gives a little bit,” said physical education teacher Anne Adams. “It’s not like an old wooden floor.”

So, this hardwood won’t warp.

“This is a great place for the kids to get rid of their energy,” said Adams. “We’re so excited.”

If playing games isn’t their thing, there’s also a full fitness center for students. That room is already sponsored but there are plenty of other naming opportunities, even as small as a brick in the sidewalk for those who want to donate.

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