UXBRIDGE (CBS) – The first concrete steps were taken in Uxbridge Thursday morning towards building the G.R.A.C.E. Center, a new sports complex at Our Lady Of The Valley Regional School that honors Uxbridge athlete and Holy Cross rower Grace Rett who died last year.

Rett was killed during a horrific van crash in January of 2020 while on a training trip in Vero Beach, Florida with the Holy Cross women’s rowing team.

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The G.R.A.C.E. in the name of the facility stands for “Grace Rett Athletic Complex And Education Center”.

The ground-breaking ceremony for construction on the G.R.A.C.E. Center took place Thursday. (WBZ-TV)

“Having Grace’s name on this building would of course thrilled her, honor her, and humble her to no end. However, our family knows, and Grace would agree, that the bigger win here is the benefit to the current and future OLV Angels,” said Mary Jo Rett, Grace’s mother.

The Rett family was on-hand for the ground-breaking ceremony at Grace’s alma mater. Her parents say the project fulfills a dream Grace had for her elementary and middle school.

“She would be thrilled,” said Mary Jo. “Not just about the gym but the classrooms. Honestly, she was a true student-athlete.”

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Grace Rett. (Photo credit: Holy Cross)

The soon-to-be 7,500 square-foot facility will feature a basketball court, a pair of indoor classrooms and green space for outdoor classes.

Rendering of the Grace Center at Our Lady of the Valley Regional School in Uxbridge (Image Our Lady of the Valley)

“I’m excited for all the kids because having been in their shoes before and this being something I always dreamed of, all of us have, especially Grace, I’m so excited for them,” said Brianne Rett, Grace’s sister.

The cost of the facility is $3.8 million, covered partly by a 62-hour, 3-second long fundraising project called “Grace to the Finish” from last December.

The project was in honor of Rett’s world record-setting consecutive indoor row. There was also an anonymous $1 million donation.

“It means a lot because it means Grace is still living. Her spirit is still alive in the other kids and in the community,”  said Christopher Rett, Grace’s father.

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The targeted completion date is some time this winter.

Nick Giovanni