Sage Ridge School in Reno announced April 23 it is naming its new 13,000-square-foot gymnasium after Northern Nevada gaming legend Ernest (Ernie) J. Primm. This gymnasium will be housed within the school’s recently announced 24,004-square-foot Student Activity Center. Members of Primm’s family spanning multiple generations and close friends have raised and pledged collectively over $2 million toward the funding of the $7 million Student Activity Center, according to an April 23 press release. The gymnasium, court, and Northeast Corner Lounge will be named in Primm’s honor. The Primm gift also includes additional naming rights “to be released at a later date,” according to the school. “We are thrilled and honored that our future home court and gymnasium will be known as the Ernest J. Primm Gymnasium,” Sallie Armstrong, Chair of Sage Ridge School’s Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “Ernie Primm was a Nevada gaming legend and pioneer whose contributions to both the Reno business and gaming community and to Northern Nevada are immeasurable.”
The Ernest J. Primm Gymnasium is housed inside Sage Ridge School's to-be-named Student Activity Center. Courtesy photo
At one time, Primm owned the largest contiguous block of real estate in downtown Reno. He is credited for pioneering the start of Reno’s gaming industry in the 1950s and 1960s, beginning with a casino known as The Primadonna Club, which he opened in 1955; it was the first major casino allowed to cross what was then called the “red line” and operate on the west side of Virginia Street. Primm is also credited with changing the face of the tourist industry in Reno. “We are so appreciative to Sage Ridge for honoring my father like this,” Ernie Primm’s son, Northern Nevada businessman and philanthropist Roger Primm, said in a statement. “He would be very proud to have his name affiliated with such an outstanding school.” Groundbreaking on the Student Activity Center — the development of which is being led by current Sage Ridge School Board Trustee Cory Clemetson, who is the grandson of Ernie Primm — is anticipated in May 2021, and the facility is slated for completion this coming winter.