YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It was an old National Guard armory in the 1950s, but you wouldn’t know it today. Cardinal Mooney completely remodeled the old armory which held their football weight room.
“Everybody would tell me that place is a mess. First thing I did when I walked in, I looked around, all I could see was the potential,” said Cardinal Mooney athletic director Carl Pelini.
They gave the place a full facelift, refreshing the paint and flooring. They added heat, cardio equipment, punching bags and a golf simulator.
“This was a facility that was used primarily by the men’s football team but Mooney has opened it for all student-athletes,” said Cardinal Mooney president Tom Maj.
Alumni played a big part in it. One of them, who was a part of Mooney’s first undefeated team, spearheaded the project.
“I was able to reach out to some people that were alumni that loved Mooney, that kind of went away for a little while and when I talked to them over the phone, we had some long conversations and they were happy to come back,” said alumni Jim Rendinell.
They raised over $200,000 for the remodel and almost all of the work was done by volunteers.
“There’s a lot of sweat equity in this building which I think is kind of a characteristic of the Mooney family. I want to say some of the guys who worked on this probably donated their knees and hips,” said Maj.
The military insignia paintings on the wall were done by Pelini.
“The Airborne Reserve was here, the National Guard was here. I wanted to keep that tradition in this building,” said Pelini.
Those who worked on the project say it was all for the students.
“For me, it really exemplifies what we were all about. We’re paving homage to the past, to the old armory that served the country and served the area, but it’s also looking forward to the future, said Maj.
“We’re not done. This is just the beginning,” said Rendinell.
About 10,000 square feet has been remodeled, and the students have been using the new armory since April.
However, they still have about 15,000 square feet. Part of that they plan to turn into classrooms for fitness and nutritional education.