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Middletown's Wade E. Miller Gymnasium to be demolished in a few weeks

Posted at 5:47 PM, Jul 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-09 18:04:52-04

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- Wade E. Miller Gymnasium is in its final days.

The famed former Middletown High School gym made famous by basketball legend Jerry Lucas is scheduled to be razed starting in a few weeks, according Middletown City Schools communications specialist Elizabeth Beadle.

"We will have a better idea by the end of the week," Beadle said. "It all depends on the asbestos removal."

Wade E. Miller Gymnasium -- one of the most well-known Ohio high school basketball venues -- officially closed in December 2017. Hamilton defeated Middletown 64-58 in a boys' varsity game on Dec. 8.

Lucas, a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, was among those recognized that frigid evening. He helped lead the Middies to a 76-game overall win streak from 1955 to 1958, including state titles in '56 and '57, and later played at Ohio State University and in the NBA, most notably with the Cincinnati Royals and New York Knicks.

The Wade E. Miller Gymnasium court was named in his honor in 2013.

"It was just a unique aura that existed then that kind of permeated everything," Lucas said in 2017. "You could feel the tingle of it when you walked into the gymnasium. People were expecting some great things to happen, and obviously they always did."

The gymnasium opened Dec. 5, 1952 as the Middies defeated Miamisburg 84-59. Middletown went on to win a state championship that 1952-53 season, its fourth title at the time. Middletown has seven boys' basketball titles overall: 1944, 1946, 1947, 1952, 1953, 1956 and 1957.

The 2,130-seat Wade E. Miller Arena opened on Middletown High School's campus in December 2017.