The clock is ticking on what — when it was built with bond issue money in the early 1950s — was regarded as the best high school basketball gymnasium in Ohio.
Wade E. Miller Gym, home of the Middletown High School boys basketball team since it opened on Dec. 5, 1952, will host its last basketball game Dec. 8 when the Middies face Butler County rival Hamilton. The next night, Middletown will unveil its state of-the-art arena when the girls host Colerain, followed by the boys against Lima Senior.
Here are 5 things to know about Wade E. Miller Gym’s history:
1. Much like the new Wade E. Miller Arena, there was much excitement as the district prepared to build a 4,000-seat gym at then Middletown High School on Girard Avenue. In the late 1940s, the district passed a $250 million bond issue that funded the renovation of schools and construction of Barnitz Stadium, the high school football stadium on South Main Street, and Wade E. Miller Gym.
2. Construction on the gymnasium began in August 1951 and was completed in December 1952 at a cost of $578,000.
3. The Middies beat the Miamisburg Vikings, 84-59, before 3,117 fans on opening night.
4. The Middies won three of their state-tying record seven state boys basketball championships while playing at Wade E. Miller. The Middies won in 1953, 1956 and 1957 at Miller Gym and also won in 1944, 1946, 1947 and 1952 while playing at Middletown High School, now Middletown Middle School.
5. The Middies played their home games at Wade E. Miller Gym from 1952 through 1969 before the games were moved to the new high school on Breiel Boulevard. In 1980, the games were moved back to Wade E. Miller Gym.