By Mike Deak
KNIGHTSTOWN – Even gymnasiums have to practice quarantine these days.
Hoosier Gym, the famous setting for the movie Hoosiers, is taking advantage of the stay-at-home orders and is undergoing construction efforts to upgrade several facets to the iconic landmark ahead of its milestone celebration.
The cozy structure will turn 100 years old next year, and with it, is continuing with its renovation package that includes brick work, new windows, a new roof and insulation upgrades. The roof construction is set to take off in the next few days, and some of the images of the gym prep offered on the Hoosier Gym Twitter have the gym looking like it’s heading to surgery.
“I guess you could say the gym is in quarantine like all of us,” joked Hoosier Gym events coordinator Bob Garner. “The gym will be 100 years old next year. We got the grants in place to make the upgrades we need for it. We’ll take it all the way down to the wood base and add levels of insulation to help with the heating bill. We hope it will save the building for another 100 years.”
Garner also noted the gym repairs, as long as the contractors remained on schedule, should take two to three weeks to complete.
Hoosier Gym had its annual Reunion All-Star Classic canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. But a proposal to the governor produced a potential date in June for players to come back for a game likely without fans. The game would be broadcast on TV, and per Garner, a majority of the players who were asked to play in the original contest have responded to coming back in June.
Hoosier Gym has been hosting basketball showcase games for years. Aside from being a museum where the spirits of Indiana basketball history come alive, the gym is very much usable and a destination site for teams and fans from around the country. The gym is eager to host over 80 games with not just teams from Indiana, but also each of the neighboring states as well as Missouri, Mississippi, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The 100th anniversary celebration is already in the works, where along with the games will include a parade, a concert featuring a nationally-renowned artist and the movie reunion with actors from the Hoosiers film returning to the site that made them a household commodity.
“Movie night is something we do every year,” Garner said. “We are working to get the complete directors cut for the anniversary, to have the full footage. Our anniversary game on Nov. 25 will be Knightstown versus Tri High to commemorate the first game that was played 100 years ago. We will make it work even if we’re dealing with this corona business. We can put it on TV. But hopefully by then, we’ll be well past all of this.”