Tyson Auditorium in Versailles
(Versailles, Ind.) - A group of locals are keeping the historic Tyson Auditorium in Versailles alive.
The gym built in 1950 was home to basketball teams from South Ripley and Versailles high schools. Even the 1954 state champion Milan Indians basketball team played there to accommodate large crowds.
The rustic facility was essentially mothballed in 2009 when South Ripley Community Schools built a new high school gym for its boys and girls basketball games. After Tyson Auditorium sat relatively unused since then, the building made its way onto Indiana Landmarks' list of 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in Indiana.
But a non-profit group named the non-profit Tyson Community Advancement Foundation purchased the building in January, preserving it for current and future generations in central Ripley County.
“The foundation was started because we wanted to see the historical building being used again by the community. Many families leave Versailles, or even the county, for activities that we can provide,” said Aimee Cornett, one of the foundation’s co-founders.
Along with Aimee and her husband Jeff, the foundation was started by Shawn and Tammy Halcomb, and Shannon and Stacey Schmaltz.
Now titled the Tyson Activity Center, the gym is hosting birthday parties, open gyms, and other events. This past winter, the center hosted its first youth basketball league with 135 players from the area participating.
More activities are planned for the summer.
“We are offering an Athletic Development Training program lead by Jerrid McDonald starting in May. We are working toward offering art camp, cheerleading camp, and youth tumbling this summer,” Cornett said.
The Tyson Community Advancement Foundation is always looking for businesses or organizations that would like to partner with them to help provide programs in our building. Interested parties can contact the organization at (812) 614-1393.