New Laney gymnasium links the past to the present

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Ruby Sutton has just about seen it all at Laney High School, and she taught its most famous graduate – Michael Jordan.

For Sutton, who coached volleyball and is going into her 41st year of teaching, seeing the school's new gymnasium open on Wednesday was a dream come true.

"I was so elated," Sutton said. "It was like, am I really here to see this new facility? And it was nothing but smiles."

She has a lot to smile about now that the new $10.4 million facility, which also includes a media center, is open, but she said she won't forget about the past.

"You can't get rid of history," Sutton said. "That was the beginning, and this is the new. They call this the new gym, and they call that one over there the old gym, and that one will always be the Michael Jordan gym."

Architects didn't forget about the past and made an effort to link the two gymnasiums together with a collage of pictures of student athletes.

Laney Athletic Director Fred Lynch said blending history with the present is important.

"Trying to recognize the kids that came years ago that you see with the photos on the wall," Lynch said. "And the pictures of the old athletes coming into the new gym is what we think it's all about."

You don't have to look very far to find Jordan's influence in the new gym. His Jumpman logo is still on center court.

"He's still in here," Sutton said. "But that's Michael Jordan gym, the old gym. I will always love that gym. I have had some good times in that gym."

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