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  • Richard Smith

Thompson Gymnasium – Elizabethtown Blue Jays


Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

Thompson Gymnasium One Alpha Drive Elizabethtown, PA 17022



Year Opened: 1970

Capacity: 1,000

 

Fun In E-Town

Elizabethtown College (usually referred to as just E-Town) is a private college in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Elizabethtown is in Lancaster County, 21 miles southeast of Harrisburg and 20 miles south of Hershey.

The college was founded in 1899 by the Church of the Brethren and offers 53 majors and over 90 minors and concentrations focusing on arts, humanities, and sciences.


The Elizabethtown College Blue Jays are a member of NCAA Division III, and the Landmark Conference since 2014. The women’s basketball was the NCAA Division III National Champion in 1982 and 1989 while the men’s program was the NCAA Division III National Runner-Up in 2002. The most famous athletic alumni may be Gene Garber, who is the former all-time saves leader for the Atlanta Braves (currently third behind John Smoltz and Craig Kimbrel).


Thompson Gymnasium opened in 1970 but most recently had a forced renovation in 2015 when during construction on the gymnasium’s pitched roof, a vapor barrier was blown open by a thunderstorm, resulting in water damage to the court.


Food & Beverage 0

There are no normally scheduled food offerings at E-Town games. I would suspect that student organizations occasionally offer bake sales or simple concession offerings in the lobby for certain games. There was an organization selling bracelets when we attended.


Atmosphere 3

The arena is very nice, but it is a high basic school type of setup. As you enter the arena you will find bleacher filled grandstands sitting along two sides of a basketball court.


Outside the gym and down a hallway are the E-Town Hall of Fame and trophy cases. There are also some sports-specific display cases located in the gym itself and the adjacent lobby.


Neighborhood 4

The town of Elizabethtown is quite quaint and also offers a nice variety of food options. Our top choices would be Funk Brewing, Good Burrito Co., Vinnie & Pat’s, and PizzAtown.


Hershey is just short drive north. There just happens to be a major amusement park located there, as well as other Hershey attractions. The Troegs Brewery on Hersheypark Drive offers guided and self tours, as well as having a great tasting and food room. If you’re looking for more standard dining options, then you will find a Red Robin and Fuddruckers all in the area. I might suggest checking out a lesser-known option, the Parkside Bar and Grill (3 E Derry Rd Hershey, PA 17033), as they have some great burgers and other bar food options.


Fans 4

As with most small college gyms, the bulk of the fans tends to be family or friends of both teams. There will be some local fans who just happen to stop by for the game as well. It was a decent crowd but the student turnout seemed light.


Access 5

Elizabethtown is located right off of the PA-283 freeway that runs between Harrisburg and Lancaster. Access to the town itself is quite easy.


The college itself is located a few blocks from Market Street, which is the main street in E-Town. The town itself is fairly walkable, but driving and finding parking is not much of an issue.


Return on Investment 5

There are no charges to attend games and parking is free so the value is fairly high. You also won’t be spending money on any food offerings, so there’s that.


Extras 2

There is a nice Hall of Fame and other athletic displays down a hallway attached to the gymnasium. It is always cool to see national championship trophies no matter the level.


E-Town is a great little extra on its own as this quaint Pennsylvania town is always a favorite stop of ours.


Final Thoughts

E-Town’s Thompson Gymnasium is a pleasant small college gym in an exactly pleasant small town. If traveling in central Pennsylvania attending a game here is a nice choice.


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