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Aug. 10, 2006

Part 2 of a 2 part story

Considering the fact that multi-talented athletes practice their skills inside these walls, it should come as no surprise Ohio State has some of the finest multi-dimensional facilities in the world to go along with them.

Those facilities total over $400 million, so it should also go as no surprise Ohio State’s staff that is responsible for them are among the best in their field.

Considering the basketball floor in Value City Arena is $90,000 itself, they have to be.

Building Service Coordinator Sean Perkins is in charge of St. John Arena, French Field House, Steelewood Athletic Facility and the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Perkins has three full-time assistants, Kevin Gorham, Don Morris and Bill Moffitt, as well as 50 students on his staff.

“We are responsible for the general maintenance, cleaning, set up, tear down and renovations of four indoor facilities,” Perkins said.

Though men’s and women’s gymnastics and wrestling practice in Steelewood, they compete in St. John Arena as well as men’s and women’s volleyball. French Field House hosts a variety of events such as pre game tailgates for football games and summer camps and Woody Hayes Athletic Center gives the football team a place to practice inside.

“We work all events in any of the facilities and I have staff on weekends at Woody Hayes for practice,” Perkins said.

A typical day for Perkins and his staff during volleyball season begins at 7:30 a.m. and could last until midnight.

“We set up the nets, chairs and clean the arena before the match,” Perkins said. “We clean during the match and then tear down the nets and clean up the arena after the match.”

OSU’s indoor facilities are capable to host a variety of events outside of their primary purpose to house the Buckeyes. While Perkins is responsible for four facilities hosting events, Conversion Manager for the Schottenstein Center Keith Chaseley is responsible for one facility and many events.

Chaseley works every event in the Schottenstein Center and is responsible for accommodating for basketball and hockey games, as well as special events.

“I have a staff of 45 people, including 35 students who help with the conversion of basketball, hockey and other events such as graduation or concerts,” Chaseley said.

Converting from basketball to hockey is slightly easier and quicker than hockey to basketball.

“It is easy to tear everything up than to assemble it all,” Chaseley said. “When going from basketball to hockey we remove 800 to 1,000 chairs then remove the lower levels of risers and pick up the 212 pieces that make up the basketball court.”

Once the chairs and court are removed from the ground Chaseley and his staff install the glass around the ice, put nets up to protect fans from flying pucks and remove the fiber glass ice cover.

“The process normally takes three-and-a-half hours with 30 people,” Chaseley said, “However; we have done the conversion in less than two hours with 40 people.”

Converting the Schottenstein Center back to a basketball ready venue takes longer because of having to install the basketball court and putting the chairs back.

“The pieces to the floor fit back together like a huge puzzle,” Chaseley said. “The chairs take the longest to put back and are the most tedious job in the process because of lining them up perfectly and the large number of chairs we have to put back.”

For special events like graduation or concerts, Chaseley works with Stage Manager Dave Martin, who is responsible for hanging sound systems and lighting. Perkins does not have a stage manager but has Wayne Stephens to help with any sound or lighting fixture.

The hardest conversion for Chaseley and his crew is not for an Ohio State event, but Ohio state championship high school wrestling. The event requires all available space and a change midway through Saturday for the finals.

For that event Chaseley has to remove nearly 2,400 chairs and push all the risers against the wall. He has to build a press table and a head table which is eight feet tall. None of Chaseley’s equipment reaches eight feet; therefore he doubles up stage equipment to make the height requirement.

“The main floor has 10 mats on the ground,” Chaseley said. “We then transform the gym for the finals and put three mats on the stage and install the south risers. We usually take two days to set up for this event.”

Whether it is converting a basketball court to a hockey rink or re-lining a volleyball court for basketball camp, Perkins and Chaseley work around the clock to accommodate their facilities for various events.

By Ashlee Smith, OSU Athletics Communications