Floor conversion at BMO Harris Bradley Center

Behind the Scenes

1. Photo by Lila Aryan

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:11 pm

The BMO Harris Bradley Center in downtown Milwaukee plays host to myriad events, and each has its own surface needs. A crew is on hand to convert the flooring between events, sometimes making the switch in as little as an hour for basketball double-headers, and often undertaking conversions in the middle of the night. Last month, once the ice from Disney on Ice had melted, the conversion was from concrete for a Bon Iver concert to the Marquette University men’s basketball court. It would be removed later in the week for a Mama Tried motorcycle race with Dr. Pepper soda syrup spread on the concrete floor. Derrick McElwee, director of event services, oversaw the process.

  1. The pieces of floor are stacked on rolling carts, with the painted sides facing each other and mylar sheets between layers. They are stored in order so the team knows which stack goes down first.
  2. Jason Allen and Eddie Edwards lift a piece of floor into place. Each eight-foot piece weighs about 165 pounds, and includes several wood planks, a base with rubber footings and pins that hold the pieces together.
  3. Mike Richards and Carlos Bardwell use a mallet to hit the pieces of floor into place so they line up correctly. Spacer boards along the outside assure the proper distance from the seats to the edge of the floor.
  4. The names of Marquette men’s basketball season ticket holders are printed on decals and placed over the letters of “We are Marquette” on the floor each season. The floor is stripped and re-stained each year.
  5. Part of the conversion process involves putting additional folding chairs on movable risers that are added around the perimeter of the court.

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