File Photo

From basketball games to country music concerts, the Patriot Center plays host to a variety of events on the George Mason University campus.

It isn’t uncommon for the Patriot Center staff to hold a show on Friday, have a basketball game on Saturday and then host another event on Sunday.

With the diversity in such events, staff is forced to completely transform the arena on numerous occasions throughout the year, changing it from a basketball court to a concert hall in a matter of hours.

“That is just part of what an arena does,” said Barry Geisler, general manager of the Patriot Center. “We take it as a challenge for us.”

In the transformations, the arena takes on an entirely different look based upon the type of event being held inside. A team of 20 to 25 men is assembled to remodel the area, taking anywhere from five to six hours to complete.

When other events are being held on campus, the basketball floor is stored under the bleachers on the north side of the arena. The floor breaks up into 8-foot by 4-foot sections and sit on carts in about a 100-square foot area in a tunnel-like room. It is taken apart and put together piece by piece, similar to a jigsaw puzzle, beginning from the middle of the floor and working outwards.

Assembling and disassembling the floor itself can take a 20 man crew more than three hours to accomplish and, on typical days, is done overnight.

The stage that is used during concerts and comic shows is kept in a storage space located right underneath the north entrance of the building. It is an area that was not part of the original design when the Patriot Center was constructed in the early 1980s.

As a 10,000 seat arena, the Patriot Center opened on Oct. 4, 1985, and played host to a New York Knicks vs. Washington Bullets (now the Wizards) preseason game.

Since then, the arena has undergone a $10 million renovation, which added new concession stands, new hospitality area, new locker rooms and bathrooms and an improved main concourse. The Patriot Center holds over 120 events and attracts more than 450,000 people every year.

­­Patriot Center Facts
First Year of Operation: 1985
Capacity: 10,000 people
Number of Events Hosted: 2,400+
Acts: Kanye West, Black Eyed Peas, Muse, Weezer, Dane Cook, Larry the Cable Guy, Bruce Springsteen, Barnum and Bailey’s Circus and many more.