Behind the scenes of the Schottenstein Center's transformation from hockey rink to basketball court
Published: Thursday, February 16, 2012
Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2012 19:02
Whether people are attending a concert or a basketball or ice hockey game at the Schottenstein Center, they often only see the finished product.
One Ohio State student recently attended an ice hockey game and found himself curious about the transition process.
"I wondered about it during the hockey game," said Randy Norman, a fourth-year in computer science and information. "I didn't know if they could hold a basketball and ice hockey game in the same weekend."
In fact, that sort of thing happens often.
For one particularly tight conversion, Steve Lind, conversion manager at the Schottenstein Center, said they were able to convert from the basketball court to the ice rink in two hours and 10 minutes.
Lind said that result is not typical. Usually it takes closer to three-and-a-half hours to convert from the basketball court to the ice rink, he said.
The most difficult conversion is going from the ice rink back to the basketball court, a process that usually takes about four-and-a-half hours, Lind said.
"It's a lot more cosmetic," he said.
Setting up the basketball court involves piecing together 225 individual wooden pieces, along with adding extra rows of seating.
The ice rink has less seating to install, but has 182 pieces of glass that make up the rink.
In all, the Schottenstein Center holds more than 20,000 people for concerts, 19,500 people for basketball games and 17,500 for ice hockey games.
To cover the ice during basketball games and concerts, protective flooring is placed over the ice.
The speed with which they accomplish the conversion depends heavily on the size of the crew.
Lind said the average conversion crew has 20 to 25 members. The crew that set the record had more than 40 members.
Maintaining the ice surface during the season, and throughout multiple conversions, is the responsibility of custodial services manager Ray Williams.
It's a process that isn't as difficult as it used to be, due in large part to the advancement of the Zamboni.
"It's labor intensive, but the Zamboni does its job," Williams said.
Williams said the Zamboni removes any imperfections the conversion process might cause in the ice.
The ice, formed at the beginning of the hockey season in October, takes between 50 and 60 hours of labor to form, he said.
Williams described the process in detail.
First, the concrete floor beneath the ice is regulated to 10 degrees. Twelve miles of piping are laid under the floor that runs the cooling system.
Then, a thin layer of water is sprayed onto the ice. Once it's frozen, the ice is painted white. The lines follow and the center ice logo is put in place.
The logo, which is made of mesh, is placed at center and freezes into the ice.
Williams said the process of placing the logo takes only 10 to 15 minutes. When they had to paint the logo, the process took about six hours.
Once the logo is in place, the ice is built up until it is between one-and-a-quarter and one-and-a-half inches.
In all, 10,000 gallons of water is used to create the surface.
The ice is kept at 18 degrees when the protective flooring covers it and 14 degrees when it is uncovered.
Williams said the surface temperature of the ice fluctuates because of overhead lighting.
The ice is melted in March after OSU's hockey season.
Converting the Schottenstein Center is a large task, but it is not the process that strikes Lind, but rather who is involved in the process.
"Ninety-eight percent of the crew is Ohio State students," Lind said. "I think that's pretty neat."