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  • Writer's pictureMarc Viquez

Historic West Gym - Center Grove Trojans



Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86

Historic West Gym 2717 S Morgantown Rd Greenwood, IN 46143

Year Opened: 1954 Capacity: 4,000

 

The Center Grove High School West Gym opened on December 14, 1954, and would serve as the Trojans home for basketball until January 1996, when its current facility, the Vandermeer Gym, debuted. However, like many former venues, the West Gym was not dismantled or left in squalid conditions.

It would serve the high school as an auxiliary gym for freshman basketball games and other sporting events. It is that reason why the varsity basketball team will utilize its old stomping grounds from time to time.


The gymnasium was designed by Ralph Legeman, who designed several other ‘sunken gyms’ throughout the state. His design was considered one of the best for high school hoops in the Indianapolis area. Legeman also designed the high school that opened for the 1954-1955 academic year, and it helped ease the pain from the loss of the former school and gym two years earlier.


A fire broke out on November 1, 1952, at the old high school building. The fire began between 11:00 PM and 12:30 AM after the annual Halloween Carnival had concluded. The flames shot up to 150 feet in the air, and firefighters worked all night to put it out. Sadly, both the school and gymnasium were destroyed. The blaze was determined to be caused by faulty wiring.


The basketball team lost all of its equipment except for its white home jerseys and continued playing on the road for the rest of the season. A holding company was created to rebuild a new high school, and residents bought shares to fund the project. $625,000 was raised to build a new school and gym. Today, the school and gym remain on the same site through various renovation projects.


Food & Beverage 3

A small concession window offers hot dogs, nachos, Coca-Cola products, popcorn, and candy during games. Unlike other gyms in the state, a visible menu board does not offer prices. The menu board is accessible via telephone, and payments can made via credit card or cash. 


Atmosphere 3

The West Gym has been kept in pristine condition and makes for a nostalgic time to enjoy a high school basketball game. The wraparound concourse provides an ideal view of the game from any area. Fans are close to the action towards the button few rows where there isn’t much room between the playing court and stands.


The design is identical to many sunken gyms of its kind around the state, but the West Gym does not have any banners, signs, or the little touches of a gym in Edinburg, Connersville, or West Vigo. However, having the gym open for one day a season is a great way to relive a few memorable moments from the school’s past.


Neighborhood 3

Center Grove High School is in Greenwood, about 20 minutes south of downtown Indianapolis. It is in a residential neighborhood, close to the Greenwood Mall, 15 minutes east of the high school. This area offers an array of regional and national chain restaurants, shops, and other points of interest.


Fans 3

The crowd feels a little different at games in the West Gym. No cheer blocks or student sections were providing a soundtrack to the game. There was more of an older crowd that featured an array of alumni, parents, and others taking a peek inside the old venue.


Access 3

The West Gym is located at the southwest corner of the high school off Montgomery Road and close to Pennington Road. There is construction taking place, but there is parking directly in front of the gymnasium. The other option is to park in front of the current gym Vandermeer Gym, and walk over through the school.


Once inside the arena, a main concourse wraps around the seating bowl, providing an unobstructed view of the basketball court. A small concession stand and restrooms are available on the concourse level. 


Return on Investment 3

The ticket price is $6, and it provides fans a chance to witness a high school game at Center Grove's old gym, where a lot of memories were made. The gym will celebrate 70 years in December 2024, and it is nice to be able to go back and enjoy a game.


Extras 2

An extra point is awarded for the West Gym used for select varsity games throughout the season. These games are connected to alumni events that bring back memories for all those attending. A second point is the usage of the historic gym. It still looks fantastic for a gym of its age. 


Final Thoughts

The Historic West Gym is a pleasant way to enjoy a high school basketball game in the Indianapolis market. The 70-year-old sunken gym still offers a glimpse of the school's past and present.


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Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel. Email at Marc.Viquez@stadiumjourney.com 

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