Our special Best of Indiana High School Gyms campaign has come to a close, and after 3 weeks of voting, our readers have selected the best high school gyms in Indiana. This voting really showed us that basketball is not just a game in Indiana. Over 67,000 votes were cast, smashing our all-time record and causing this to be our most competitive Best of Indiana battle of all-time. From some of the largest high school basketball arenas in the country to unique venues whose architecture is unmatched, these cathedrals are home to Friday night dramas that draw in entire communities.
A special thanks to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and Hoosier Hardwood Photo Project for their help to make this happen. All photos are courtesy of ©HoosierHardwoodProject 2021. The project has a book that chronicles Indiana’s best high school gyms, you can find Chasing Indiana’s Game on Amazon.
Boonville Gym has that classic “sunken” design and has been a mainstay of Boonville since 1958. It can seat 5,650 fans.
At the time of construction in 1949, the Kokomo Memorial Gymnasium was the largest of its kind in the world. Its design is unique and with multiple entrances, it feels like walking into a college arena.
Named after legendary Golden Bear player William Garrett, Shelbyville’s gym was constructed in 1967. Its 5,832 fan capacity and domed ceiling provide the wow factor.
Seymour High School is home to the second-largest high school gym in the country, as Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium has a capacity of 8,228 fans. This allows for an electrifying atmosphere caused by a dedicated Owls fanbase.
Muncie Central High School has one of the most storied basketball programs of any in Indiana. Visitors enter Muncie Fieldhouse through an atrium that displays photos of state championship teams and then step foot into one of the most epic basketball cathedrals around. It is one of the oldest venues that still hosts high school games.
When built, Huntingburg Memorial Gymnasium was a “super gymnasium and sports arena”. It was the largest of its kind in Southern Indiana to feature the distinctive pin-hinged arch with an outward thrust, providing unobstructed views for fans entering the gym at street level.
Mishawaka athletic teams have called “The Cave” home since 1924, making it the oldest active gym in Indiana. Former players have described it as like playing in a swimming pool. Modern updates have been added to “The Cave” as recently as 2018 while still keeping the historic feel and design.
For nearly 60 years, the Jim Mann Green Dome has been the only home to the West Vigo High School Vikings since its inception in 1959. The 2,600-seat venue is of the “sunken gym” style. The gym was renamed after longtime Athletic Director Jim Mann in 2011, who spent 30 years at the school. Another interesting note is that Larry Bird did his student teaching at the high school following the 1978-1979 season with Indiana State University.
The New Castle Fieldhouse is home to the Trojans. The Fieldhouse was constructed through a community formed nonprofit, and in 1959, the New Castle Fieldhouse debuted as the largest high school arena in the world. The gym briefly lost that designation, but in January, New Castle installed 260 telescoping seats on the west concourse and installed 335 additional seats in portable bleachers, increasing its capacity to 8,424. It’s once again the biggest high school gym in the world.
The Spartan Bowl has been dubbed “The Grand Palace on Grand Avenue.” The gym holds 5,134 people and opened on November 25, 1958. The facility is home to the school’s two state championship teams of 1972 and 1983. A few years ago, the original gym floor was replaced and sound barriers were added to the ceiling, giving the building a unique look. The building was designed by Ralph Legeman, who also constructed the New Castle Fieldhouse.