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  • Writer's pictureMarc Viquez

Jay County Gymnasium – Jay County Patriots

Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

Jay County Gymnasium 2072 IN-67 Portland, IN 47371

Year Opened: 1975

Capacity: 4,470


Red, White, and Hoops in Jay County

When you walk into the Jay County High School gymnasium in Portland, Indiana, the colors red, white, and blue are evident throughout the building. It should not be a surprise since the sports teams that play in this facility or call the Patriots and that the gym itself opened for the 1975 -1976 basketball season along with the brand new high school.

The new high school was the result of the five remaining schools (Pennville, Dunkirk, Bryant, Portland, and Redkey) consolidating into one large building for Education. These four schools and four others are honored with several displays throughout the gym. The name and colors were both chosen by student representatives to coincide with the upcoming bicentennial.

The gymnasium is similar in design to Lafayette Jeff’s Marion Crawley Athletic Center which was built for the same school year. The Jay County Gym has a much smaller capacity of 4,450 seats and offers original seating of brown bleachers on the upper level and blue seating on the lower level that features the word “JAY” inscribed on both sets. The upper level features a wrap-around concourse with a Patriots Wall of Fame and a simple, but very nice set of eight banners honoring the former high schools that once existed in Jay County.

The boys’ basketball has been a member of the Allen County Athletic Conference since 2014. The conference made up of four northwest counties of the state features 7 teams. The Patriots have captured 17 sectional titles and were state finalists for the Class 4A Championship in 2006.

Food & Beverage 3

There are four concession stands located at the corners of the gym on both the top and bottom. The upper-level stand is a small window behind the bleachers offering the trademark menu items of hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, candy, and soda. The prices range from $1 to $3.50 and provide ample snacking during the evening. The popcorn is hot and tasty and goes better with a Patriot victory–however–if hungry, grab dinner somewhere in town before the game.

Atmosphere 4

The roar of the crowd should tell you how things are going when outside of the gym in the main hallway of the school. The impressive size of the gym has a lot to offer from a Patriot Wall of Fame on the upper concourse, a large wooden Patriot figure adjacent to the corner staircase, and an array of colorful banners hanging from the center of the gym’s ceiling. However, there is one more item that should strike your fancy.

The court design features an oversize map of Indiana that stretches from one end to the other at the center court. Inside the state, is a county map with all 8 former high schools and their names that once existed in the county and that were all eventually consolidated into the current school. The Madison Tomcats, Rolling Yellow Jackets, and Dunkirk Speedcats are forever immortalized at center court.

The lower level features seating on all four sides, while railings on the upper concourse provide fans a birdseye view of the game above the nets. The student section is loud and boisterous, the band, the band up to par with their instruments, and the cheer team getting the crowd excited during a game that was won on a last-second 3-point shot by the Patriots.

Neighborhood 2

The population of Portland, Indiana is estimated to be around 6,163. the town was first planted in 1837 and was named after Portland, Maine. The town is also located quite a few miles on State Road 27 in between two major interstates of I-69 in Indiana and I-75 in Ohio. Ft. Wayne is 30 miles north and Muncie is about a 30-minute drive southwest of

Jay County High School.

There is a small downtown that features a historic courthouse along with several local and national establishments to grab a drink or bite to eat before the game. Dick’s Pizza Palace has been serving Portland since 1961 and features a vintage Vibe along with pizzas, Subs, tenderloin sandwiches, and salads. It has been voted the best place in the county for pizza for several years.

Richard’s Restaurant has a location in town offering Burgers, salads, seafood, and chicken dishes. However the country favorites of ham steak, country fried steak, and Bones pork chop plates with two sides is a must. It is also recommended to try one of their turkey or beef Manhattan’s while in town.

Fans 4

The crowd was energetic during our visit and everyone from the student section to the town faithful cheered on their team to victory in the closing seconds. The high school band music echoed throughout the building and everyone seemed to be enjoying the game at hand as they have since 1976. After the game, a few talked about some of their favorite memories and how the crowds used to be only a few short seasons ago. However, I think they’re still pretty good.

Access 4

The high school in the gymnasium is located on State Road 27, but there isn’t an interstate within quite a few miles from town. The building itself is designed efficiently to give proper access to all visitors entering and exiting the building. The bathrooms are located in the main lobby of the gym and when the game is over a series of doors exit onto the parking lot.

Return on Investment 3

The ticket prices are $6 in our common with other gymnasiums in the counting. The concession prices are fairly inexpensive and the crowd is always up for a very good time, but it does take a little bit of a trek to arrive at the school. However, that may just be part of the adventure does someone who wants to check out all the gyms in the state of Indiana.

Extras 3

The Jay County Gym receives an extra point for honoring the past high schools of the county. There are eight banners hanging up on the wall in the upper deck and the same 8 schools are forever inscribed at the center court.

The student section gets a second point for providing much of the boisterous noise throughout the game.

The wooden Patriot that sits near the Wall of Fame earns the gym the third point. It is a great opportunity for photos.

Final Thoughts

The Jay County High School gymnasium is one of the great examples of an Indiana gymnasium. It has the color, the fans, and the Aesthetics to make it a pleasant evening high school hoop during the cold winter months of the year. It may be a bit of a trip, but Eight banners are hanging a lot of fun.

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