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Official Review by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Greenfield, Indiana has been the home to high school basketball since 1914 and many of its teams played in various facilities during the early years. It was common in the early 20th century for a basketball court to be housed in barns, second floors of local grocery stores, auto dealerships, or even outside. Many of these venues offered limited seating, poor lighting, and other oddities that included haystacks, dusty floors, and cold conditions.
It would not be until January 18, 1921 that Greenfield High School dedicated the State Street Gymnasium. Like many gymnasiums and fieldhouses in Indiana from the 1920’s to the 1960’s, it was the local townspeople who put forth vigorous effort to cover the cost of construction. The students held a carnival, the freshman class sold candy, and graduating classes each donated $100 towards the new gym. A committee of prominent citizens would put forth the rest of the capital towards the building. It would be used until a new gymnasium and high school were built in 1926.
The 1926 gymnasium would be more modern and sit 2,500 spectators, while hosting county tournaments and sectionals. Greenfield and Hancock Central High Schools would consolidate as Greenfield-Central High School for the 1969-70 school year and with it, a brand new basketball gymnasium was opened. The new gymnasium was actually ready for use during the 1969 season, but GHS players wanted to play in their old gym one final time, culminating in a 100-56 victory over Hancock Central, their consolidating partners, in the sectional championship.
The Greenfield-Central High School Cougars basketball program has called the gym home since 1969. The large, open space venue features two levels of seating (upper and lower mezzanine), plastic blue folding bleacher seats, and walls decorated like a dorm room. Numerous county tournaments, sectionals, and regionals are still hosted inside the 3,100-seat facility.
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There is one concession stand located in the main lobby of the building. The usual food items can be found here including pretzels ($2.50), pizza ($2), popcorn ($1), hot dogs ($1.50), coneys ($2), and nachos ($2.50). There are two additional tables that offer jumbo cupcakes ($4) and Chick-fil-A sandwiches ($4). All Pepsi products sell for $2. The concession menu items and prices are on par with a majority of basketball venues in the state and there is nothing better than the smell of popcorn, to go with a cold drink, and hot dog during a game.
Greenfield-Central Gym feels more like a typical high school gymnasium than many other that have been visited by Stadium Journey. Its size is impressive and it is larger than many gyms in the other 49 states, but still fits in comfortably in all of its high school boom-boom-rah! The walls are littered with posters of current varsity players of both the boys and girls team, championship banners, retired jerseys, and more banners of other high school conference members. The school colors of blue and yellow are everywhere from the walls, seats, and court.
There are several interesting aspects that include the original basketball center courts from the two erstwhile high schools that consolidated near the entrance and a giant sized mural of a cougar on the north wall. The scoreboard is not directly over center court, but on both walls. Staircases bring patrons to the upper mezzanine seats where there are wide aisles.
Regional play provides a slate of four games that start at 10 AM and noon with the championship taking place later in the evening.
Greenfield is a town of 21,056 residents located 25 miles east of downtown Indianapolis along I-70. The town is far enough from the hustle and bustle of the city and suburbs, but close enough that many can still commute to the city for work. The downtown section is small and quaint, offering consignment and antique shops along historic State Road 40.
Wooden Bear Brewing Company offers six beers on tap and food made from scratch. It is located in a former opera house built in 1895. The brewery provides a casual atmosphere where friends can gather and families can enjoy time together in the wide, open space. Hometown Classic Pizza, located in the adjoining building of the brewery, seems to be the place where locals venture for pizza. The restaurant is always packed with customers and also offers baked spaghetti, oven baked subs, toasted ravioli, and triple layer red velvet cake.
If you are looking for more national and regional chain restaurants, many are located near the interstate entrance. However, there are still a few more local establishments that include the upscale Carnegie's and the funky and eclectic Florida Cracker BBQ that looks like something you would find in the Everglades.
Depending on the school, you will find many die hard individuals making the trip to watch their local basketball team strive towards a state championship. The four schools that participated in Greenfield had their share of fans. The Cloverdale contingency were decked out green and many stayed until the half of the second game. Cloverdale and Northeastern had their rowdy student section, while the two Indianapolis schools did not have much of a student section.
The open-space facility is quite simple to get around throughout the game. There are staircases that bring fans up to the upper mezzanine section and the main lobby houses the concession stand, bathroom, and ticket booth. Customers should keep their ticket stubs in their possession in order to regain entrance back into the gymnasium area.
The price of a ticket is $10 for the day and features a wide range of Class 2A basketball players from the state. All tickets for regional action are $10 and when you factor in the cost of food, free and ample parking, and easy access, you have a way to enjoy a taste of Hoosier Hysteria.
One extra point for the high school atmosphere gymnasium. The mammoth sized gyms of nearby New Castle and Richmond give it a distinction of something more than a high school facility. In Greenfield, you get a recognizable basketball facility.
A final extra point for the two center court designs that are on display near the entrance from the two schools that consolidated into Greenfield-Central High School. Greenfield and Hancock Central were two of the last schools to shun their noses at consolidating, but two images from the Classes of 1969 and 1970 are forever on display.
The Greenfield Gym holds its own among many of the wonderful facilities in the state. It is impressive in its own right and feels more like your usual high school basketball gymnasium.The town's basketball history is comprehensive, its teams have proven to be successful, and being in a quaint little town provides a fantastic evening of basketball.
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