By Wes Mills
Inside Indiana Business
INDIANAPOLIS – In what could launch a contentious debate for basketball fans in the state, Visit Indiana has released its list of the best high school gyms in Indiana. The list is based on the results of nearly 68,000 votes as part of its Best of Indiana People’s Choice campaign.
The top three HS gyms in Indiana:
- Spartan Bowl – Connersville High School
- New Castle Fieldhouse – New Castle High School
- Jim Mann Green Dome – West Vigo High School
“Bragging rights were on the line,” said Elaine Bedel, secretary & chief executive officer of the Indiana Destination Development Corp. “This was evident in the special edition of the Best of Indiana high school basketball arenas with 67,579 votes under a four-week period.”
Of the top 10, only one gym is located north of US 24, and that is No. 4 on the list, The Cave at Mishawaka High School. Completed in 1924, The Cave is the oldest active gym in the state and has served its community for nearly 100 years. The Cave, while housing basketball as its primary duty, has also been the locale for one of the top wrestling tournaments in the country, the Al Smith Invite.
The Spartan Bowl at Connersville HS is often referred to as “The Grand Palace on Grand Avenue.” It opened in 1958.
While it holds 5,134 people, it is not the largest capacity for high school gyms in Indiana. That honor is bestowed upon the New Castle Fieldhouse, which opened in 1959. It seats more than 8,000 fans.
According to Visit Indiana, the Fieldhouse temporarily lost its title as the largest high school arena in the world. But after New Castle added additional seating, the gym now has the capacity of 8,424 and regained the title.
Number three is the Jim Mann Green Dome at West Vigo High School. The 2,600-seat venue is of the “sunken gym” style. In 2011, the gym was renamed after longtime Athletic Director Jim Mann.
Indiana boasts it has 11 of the 12 largest gyms in the U.S. Visit Indiana says 68 gyms were selected by a panel of experts coordinated by the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Click here to view the Top Ten list.