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Official Review by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Erik Clark Athletic Center has been home to the Carmel High School Greyhounds since 1954. The 4,000 seat venue was renamed in 1997 in honor of Clark’s many accomplishments as the boy's basketball coach from 1970-1977 that included 6 sectional titles and the school’s first state championship in 1977. The title game would be his last game coaching basketball of his career.
The classic gymnasium features a sunken court with 12 rows of permanent bleacher seating around its perimeter. Its design is similar to other facilities in New Castle and Connersville, but looks much more modern in decor and aesthetics. There is not too much 1950’s basketball nostalgia.
The low roof ceiling offers exposed thick piping and tubing, scoreboards on each end of the court display individual player stats, and additional removable five rows of bleacher seating are on the main concourse.
Its location on Main Street is just blocks away from the vibrant downtown Carmel scene of restaurants, shops, and bars making it an ideal way of spending a night in one of Indianapolis’ poshest suburbs.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is one concession stand at the ECAC and it's quite busy throughout stoppage in play The food offerings include nachos ($2.50), hot dogs ($2.50), coneys ($3), popcorn ($2), walking tacos ($2.50), and assorted candy bars ($1.50). Coca-Cola products are proudly served for $2 a bottle.
As with most high school games here in Indiana, and perhaps elsewhere, the concession items are merely for snacking pleasure; however, there are more than just a few amazing places to enjoy dinner before or after the game in nearby downtown Carmel.
The ECAC feels more modern than a building that is over 63-years old as of this writing. The bright lighting, updated seating, and school colors of yellow and blue make it appear to be a building that was built to emulate a classic Indiana high school gymnasium or fieldhouse. However, it's the real McCoy and kept up impressively well.
The upper concourse features three main entrances from multiple parking lots that surround the school, an array of photographs of past school championship teams, a merchandise table that sells a bevy of school spirit items, and trophy cases. It has everything you would expect from a high school gym in the Hoosier state.
The team is introduced by the cheerleaders and the school band, while the student section dubbed the "Hound Pound" cheers in boisterous levels. They are game for dressing up for theme nights at the gym and also proudly hold up large oversize poster heads of basketball players and cheerleaders. When they erupt for a big score, like they did on the last section winning shot by Carmel, the sound is deafening.
Surprising, there does not seem to be a school mascot that parades around the gym floor or stands, but the little kids find time to dribble basketballs or run around a bit during stoppage of play on the main concourse.
The best part about attending a Carmel High School game is that you're literally blocks away from the vibrant downtown scene. Downtown Carmel features a variety of shops, restaurants, bars, and performance theaters that is the envy of the rest of the Indianapolis metro area.
The Pint Room offers one of the largest selections of taps and casual pub fare, Mudbugs Cajun Cafe features authentic cajun cuisine, Scotty's Brewhouse is a local favorite that is ranked among the best restaurants for kids, and if you feel like food challenges, see if you can finish off a Big Ugly at Bub's Burgers and Ice Cream.
The Monon Trail also cuts through Main Street in downtown and locals enjoy riding their bikes to Union Brewing Company for a pint of cask ale beer and jerk chicken, patties, or ox tail at the Jamaican Reggae Grill next door.
The Palladium at the Center of Performing Arts is a dome roof theater that is a marvel to look at in itself. Located off the Monon, the building features plays, concerts, symphonies, and other stage events.
There are many lodging options in the area and in Carmel alone. The closest hotels are the Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, and Springhill Suites.
The Greyhound fans are into the the game, enjoy their basketball team, and are wonderful supporters. They love their squad and enjoy their surroundings inside the gym. The stands are filled up quite nicely with supporters from both teams.
The gymnasium is located in back of the high school off of Main Street right before downtown. The best way to arrive at the gymnasium is off the Main Street exit from the Keystone Parkway, a few miles north of I-465. Keystone Parkway runs through Carmel and is free of traffic lights, featureing roundabout exits for reduced head on collisions.
Once inside the facility, there is one main concourse that houses everything from the concession stand, bathrooms, and merchandise table. However, the portable seats on top make it somewhat cramped and doesn't open up the view of the facility as it was meant to be seen.
The main parking lot can fill up quickly for heavily attended games, but there are several other areas to park around the high school. Thankfully, there are small groups of people that you can follow through the high school hallways to the gymnasium entrances.
The cost of a ticket to a game is only $5, much in line with the rest of high school basketball in the state. There is not a bad seat in the house and the excitement is thrilling especially when nearby North Central, Hamilton Southeast, or Fishers High Schools are paying a visit. The price of concession snacks are also inexpensive
One star for being so close to the vibrant downtown scene that should please both the older and family crowd.
Another star for the upkeep of the facility; the place looks much more modern than its construction date of 1954.
A third star for the scoreboard that showcases individual stats of players.
There are a lot of great old school gyms in the state of Indiana and the Erik Clark Athletic Center rightfully takes its place among the fantastic facilities to enjoy high school basketball in the state. It is an older classic Indiana fieldhouse that provides an incredible modern comfort for high school basketball.
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110 W Main St
Carmel, IN 46032
210 W Main St
Carmel, IN 46032
110 W Main St
Carmel, IN 46032
622 S Rangeline Rd
Carmel, IN 46032
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