XENIA — The Xenia Community School District is ready to reintroduce historic Benner Field House to the community.
The district will cut the ribbon on the refurbished building at 12 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 and then hold an open house from 4-7 p.m.
“This building holds a lot of memories for the Xenia community,” said Superintendent Dr. Gabriel E. Lofton. “We hope that families, especially those with ties to the historic facility, will enjoy the work that has gone into making the facility safe and usable for the next generation of student athletes.”
The current phase of renovations included extensive exterior masonry work, new sound system, and interior paint. While the focus of this phase was on repairing the crumbling exterior, the highlight for many visitors will be the completely refinished floors, funded by the Doug Adams Trust, as well as the restored windows along both sides of the court.
“The wood floors are such a critical part of the feel inside the building that it was very important to us the get it right,” said Nathan Kopp, Xenia athletic director. “The classic feel of the design fits the space, and should be truly exciting for teams who get to play on it.”
Constructed on the site of an old city dump, from 1939 to 1977, Benner Field House operated as the physical education building for the rapidly-growing population of Xenia Central High School. Through the years, the Field House was home to great teams, including the 1942 state champions and the great teams of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The last varsity game in the Field House was played on Feb. 22, 1977.
The building known to locals as the “Snake Pit,” which had survived the 1974 tornado that destroyed the High School located only a few blocks away, was still used for basketball and volleyball games periodically until recently, when the damage became too bad.
Renovations to make the building safe to use again are part of the district’s 10-year maintenance plan, with the current renovations taking place throughout 2019.
Future renovation phases, which will be scheduled as funding becomes available, will include work on the locker rooms and restroom facilities.