A Bramlage Coliseum Transformation

On Saturday, the basketball court was nowhere to be seen, yet the following afternoon, it was back on the floor ready for the Wildcats to compete.
Along with the court, the basketball goals, score tables and media seating were all replaced with staging and curtains necessary for commencement. Nearly 500 chairs were set up on the floor of the arena for the K-State graduates and even an organ was brought in for the day
So how does it happen? How does a transformation like that - a basketball arena turned into a graduation celebration then back to a basketball arena - happen literally overnight? 
Well, it is quite the process.
The work began a few days before graduation. A crew of nearly 30 people - mainly student grounds and maintenance workers - showed up ready to get to work. 
"Wednesday (Dec. 10) at 6 p.m., we brought in our crew and we had to take everything apart," began K-State Athletics Facility Specialist and Bramlage Equipment Operator Michael Barton. "We took the goals down and stored them. We had to take down all the chairs and then we had to take apart the court."
Barton explained the court is taken apart by his crew, stacked on carts and stored in a storage room in the Bramlage Coliseum tunnel. While the court may appear as one big piece to a fan watching a basketball game, it is much more. The court is broken down into roughly 300 four-foot by eight-foot sheets (with some half sheets, Barton said) weighing about 200 pounds each.
Curtis Brown, a K-State senior in economics who has been a student worker for the K-State grounds and maintenance staff for two years, said he didn't realize what went into the Bramlage transformation before he worked with the team. 
"My older brother also worked with the grounds crew, and he would tell me that they would have to take out the court," explained Brown who's brother, Jared, graduated K-State in 2013. "When he would tell me that, I had no idea that it was in those big pieces. I didn't know how it was all put together like that, because when you're in the crowd you look at it as a full piece. You don't notice the lines. I think a lot of people don't realize it's that many individual pieces."
Along with taking out the court before graduation, the group had to hang up the curtains - a more tasking job than one might think.
"We bring in these trusses, and they hang from the rafters," explained Calvin Schneider, a senior in financing and a student supervisor for the K-State baseball grounds staff. "Then we have to tie these big black curtains to them that go across the stage and the court. There are probably 20 big, heavy curtains that we have to hang, so that's a long process, too."
A three-year worker for the grounds and maintenance staff, Schneider has spent his fair share of evenings in Bramlage Coliseum taking the court in and out and hanging up curtains whether it is for graduation ceremonies or special events in the arena. 
"It's definitely a physically tasking job, and it can be mentally tasking, too, because usually we're working at awkward times," Schneider explained. "You'll come in after a basketball game or, like for graduation, we'll start at maybe 6 p.m., and not get done until almost 12:30 a.m.
"But we have a lot of people who can do a lot of different things and that makes things pretty fluid. We have a lot of experience on our staff, a lot of people who have been doing this for a while, so there doesn't have to be a lot of explanation. People just show up and get to work, we all know what needs to be done."
While the job is tasking and can take quite some time, having the opportunity to work more time at odd hours gives students and K-State staffers the chance to clock a few extra hours. 
"It's always nice to make the extra hours," said Brown. "During school, from 8 a.m., to 5 p.m., I have a pretty set schedule with classes and everything, and I can't always work a lot of hours. So, on weeks that we put in or take out the court, I can get those extra hours."
Barton said the opportunity to transform Bramlage and work a few hours is open to all K-State athletics' staff.
"We have a stagehand call list, but the majority of the workers are the baseball maintenance students," explained Barton. "We do get a few event staffers, ushers and security guys who want the extra hours, so they come in and help also."
From wiring and rewiring the score tables and basketball hoops to folding tables and chairs to stacking and removing the floor, while the transformation of Bramlage Coliseum from one event to the next may be a tough job, it is also a rewarding job when, at the end, the crew sees its hard work brought to life while K-Staters enjoy the numerous events of Bramlage Coliseum. 
"The show has to go on - basketball needs to be played and whatever event is happening in Bramlage, we make sure it's ready," said Schneider. "There are definitely a lot of little things that people don't notice, but it all gets done and it's always ready the next day."
*To view the complete photo gallery of the K-State Grounds and Maintenance staff working in Bramlage Coliseum, please click here.
K-State's Grounds and Maintenance staff assembles the basketball court at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas on December 13, 2014. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)
K-State's Grounds and Maintenance staff assembles the basketball court at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas on December 13, 2014. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)

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