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  • Writer's pictureMarc Viquez

Cougar Fieldhouse – Greenfield-Central Cougars



Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

Cougar Fieldhouse 810 N Broadway St. Greenfield, IN 46140



Year Opened: 1969

Capacity: 4,620

 

Greenfield’s Big Box Cougar Den

The Cougar Fieldhouse would not open for high school basketball until the 1969-1970 academic school year but the building was ready for the Greenfield High School’s final game the previous season. The new fieldhouse held 4,620 people and was built along with the new Greenfield-Central High School that was set for classes in the fall. The old gym on School Street was built in 1926 and had a capacity of 2,500 but was always packed with fans.


The basketball coach gave the team a vote on whether to play at the old gym or the new fieldhouse and the boys opted for the old place for one final game; after all, many were graduating in May and would not set foot at the new school or gym. Mike Edwards “The Greenfield Gunner” scored 57 points to send the gym out in style; a few weeks later the school captured its first sectional tournament championship since 1952.


Greenfield has been the home to high school basketball since 1914 when they called an old tabernacle building home but it would not be until January 18, 1921, that the school dedicated the State Street Gymnasium. Like many gymnasiums and fieldhouses in Indiana from the 1920s to the 1960s, it was the local townspeople who put forth a vigorous effort to cover the cost of construction.


The students held a carnival, the freshman class sold candy, and graduating classes each donated $100 toward 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. It would be more modern and would host county tournaments and sectionals.


Greenfield and Hancock Central High Schools would consolidate as Greenfield-Central High School for the 1969-70 season and the Cougar Fieldhouse would be its home. The large, open space venue features two levels of seating (upper and lower mezzanine), plastic blue folding bleacher seats, and its walls are decorated like a dorm room. Numerous county tournaments, sectionals, and regionals are still hosted inside the 4,620-seat facility.


During the 2019-2020 school year, the building went through $870,000 of renovations that included the addition of an air-conditioning unit for the first time in the building’s history, LED lighting, and structure and ceiling painting.


Food & Beverage 3

There is one concession stand located in the main lobby of the building. The usual food items can be found here including pretzels, pizza, popcorn, hot dogs, coneys, and nachos. Two additional tables offer jumbo cupcakes and Chick-fil-A sandwiches. Pepsi products are available in the building. 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.


Atmosphere 3

Greenfield-Central Fieldhouse feels more like a typical high school venue and perhaps it was designed as a big box gym that was popular in design at the time of its completion. Similar gyms that include Gary West Side Gym bare a similar look and aesthetics. The majority of future gyms will borrow the same design in the following decades.


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 boy's and girls' teams, 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.


Several interesting aspects 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 the center court but on both walls. Staircases bring patrons to the upper mezzanine seats where there are wide aisles.


Neighborhood 3

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, and is slowly becoming an attraction in itself.


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 a Place To Eat and the funky and eclectic Florida Cracker BBQ that looks like something you would find in the Everglades. Other spots include Zapp Thai Restaurant and The Mug.


Fans 3

Depending on the school, you will find many die-hard individuals making the trip to watch their local basketball team strive toward a state championship. The four schools that participated in Greenfield had their share of fans. The Cloverdale contingency was 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.


Access 4

The open-space facility is quite simple to get around throughout the game. Some staircases 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 to regain entrance back into the gymnasium area.


Return on Investment 3

The price of a ticket is $6 for all home games and sectional games will cost $10 for an all-day ticket. The cost of food is inexpensive, there is ample parking, and the gym provides easy access. Greenfield provides a taste of Hoosier Hysteria.


Extras 2

One extra point for the high school atmosphere gymnasium. The mammoth-sized gyms of nearby New Castle and Richmond give it the 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 Class of 1969 from each school are forever on display in the lobby.


Final Thoughts

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.


It was common in the early 20th century for a basketball court to be housed in barns, on second floors of local grocery stores, auto dealerships, or even outside. However, many of these courts offered limited seating, poor lighting, and other oddities that included haystacks, dusty floors, and cold conditions.

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