Cascade Gym – Cascade HS Cadets
Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86
Cascade High School Gymnasium 6565 S County Rd 200 W Clayton, IN 46118
Year Opened: 1964
The Gym in the Middle of the High School
The Cascade High School basketball gym is unlike any other of its kind in the state of Indiana. The playing court and seating bowl are not in a separate building or even separated by a wall, instead, centered in the middle of the high school, where students and teachers roam the hallways daily.
Think of a town square, but instead of a courthouse, you have an open plaza with benches and green space. However, replace the benches with wood bleacher seating and railing and install a basketball court. The students’ lockers, hallways, and individual classrooms are visible from the upper portion of the gym space. It almost feels like the anti-gym in a state where the basketball gym takes precedence over the high school.
The high school was the consolidated three former schools of Clayton, Amo, and Stilesville. It cost $1.2 million to build and opened for the academic school year of 1964-1965. The name Cascade was the result of using a combination of the three former schools to create the name Cascade High. It was told to me that the Cadets nickname sounded well when paired up with the school name.
The boys’ team captured a sectional title in their first year in 1965 and added five more since then, including three from 2001-2006. The girls’ program won two sectional titles in 1986 and 2007.
Food & Beverage 3
Unlike many schools this pandemic year, food is sold at home games. The concession stand is located on the upper level in a somewhat small room. Fans can choose from a selection of hot dogs, coneys, nachos, candy, popcorn, and bottled soda. The prices range from $1 to $3.
There is no other place to watch basketball like Cascade High School. The Cadets have a gym that offers a sunken-type design with a wraparound concourse and a mostly unobstructed view from the seating and concourse area. Fans are up close and personal to the action and are situated about 6-7 feet above the court.
There are many great vantage points during the game. Fans get an ideal look from all corners of the upper concourse. There is a view from directly behind the basket rim. Fans are not permitted to sit on the court level, at least during our visit. However, there isn’t a bad seat in the house, and one can expect a very personal experience at a Cadets game.
There are a few oddities at the anti-gym that includes the main concourse being the actual classroom hallways during the school day. Patrons at the game are given lockers and individual classrooms, including the art teacher who has a nice display of student projects in an outside display case. There is also the narrow out-of-bounds area underneath the basket that is no more than a couple of inches. Padded walls as much-needed protection for any player who may need it during a rebound or layup.
The floor was replaced in 2014 and looks sharp with the school colors of Columbia blue and black. The large school logo is located on the center court, while the original center court logo is on the walls in the Cadet Center a few yards away. There are also placards hanging up against the walls of past team championships and a few banners on the opposite end. On the concourse, the retired jersey of Stephen V. Long is on display to honor the former student and army veteran who lost his life in the Pentagon attack on September 11, 2001.
Cascade High is located in Clayton, Indiana, 9 miles north of the I-70 exit. The town was founded in 1829 as Clayville and named after Henry Clay, a Kentucky statesman. The population is close to 1,000 and is located 27 miles west of downtown Indianapolis.
The town is known for its annual Fall Festival in September which features horse pulls, tractor pulls, a live band, kids’ games, food, and a parade. The town also sponsors the annual Triple F Ride in June, which is a non-profit bike rally, and Movies in the Park on Friday evenings.
The Cadets have a nice fanbase that supports their hometown team. The pandemic has reduced the crowd side during our visit, but they’re a core group of fans.
The school is located north of both SR 40 and I-70 and is not hard to get to from Indianapolis. Visitors should look for the event center sign when arriving at the high school for the best access to the court. The sign for the Cadet Center is not for the high school gym, but for the middle school and auxiliary gyms. Once inside, the concourse is wide enough to move fans around to their seats quite easily.
Return on Investment 3
The price of a ticket is $5, the food is inexpensive, and it is not too far from the big city. The curious little court is worth checking out if in the vicinity. It is one of the most unusual in the state.
Cascade High School earns a point for having its basketball court in the center of the school and smacked down in a pit. It is not a separate building or room like many other gyms in Indiana. The gym earns a second point for the colors of Columbia blue and black that are highlighted on the center court. The final point is for the small concession stand way above the gym’s north end.
The home of the Cascade High School Cadets is the anti-gym but offers all of the features of a classic, sunken gymnasium. The views are great from all angles, the atmosphere is warm, and it is a fascinating example of high school hoops in the Hoosier state.