Transfiguration Magic at Matthews’ Arena
Convocations, graduations, concerts, and hockey games are prominent events hosted at Matthews’ Arena. Most people are probably used to having prepared space once the event was announced, but have you wondered how the arena is being transformed from one event to another? The answer is quite simple. David Fraizer, Senior Director for Athletic Facilities and Central Event Services, and his team are casting their “transfiguration magic” on the building by fueling it with dedication, diligent work, and reliability. Plus, Matthews’ Arena crew has to be creative in finding ways to make things work; after all, Matthews’ Arena is 110 years old building.
|In combination with the Fall Fest, the convocation was the first event on the list scheduled that took place within the arena, and the amount of work required to have these events ready to go, well, you guessed it, is enormous. The convocation required a massive indoor stage, which entailed setting up all necessary structures within the arena in only a few weeks. That is not all; the lighting, sound, and security must have also been arranged for the arena to welcome and accommodate all incoming freshmen. Thankfully, the organization of the Fall Fest was on a slightly more straightforward and less tedious side. It only required David and his crew to organize five hundred or so tables, ensuring that the event’s timing was correct, and account for everyone stationed at those tables.|
David painted quite a detailed picture of what his crew and the facilities department will be up to for the next couple of weeks. He mentioned that Bill Smith, Alex Gallant, and Allan Levy as well the main crew of eight people, deserve much of the credit since they directly oversee the transformation process on site. Several events and the start of the hockey season are planned for this coming fall semester, and the team is already hard at work. However, before the transformation could even commence, one of their primary objectives was to fill the arena floor with ice to be used later once the hockey season starts. One should not worry about the floor accidentally melting because a special thermal covering will keep this ice floor nice and cool. Simultaneously with icing of the floor, different meetings and coordination are underway.
When the crew is not too busy casting their magic on the arena and its surroundings, they primarily orchestrate most on-campus events. The team works in tandem with the Office of Alumni Relations, Northeastern’s Trades Crews, Operations, Building Services, and Contractors, who also play a significant role in the event organization on campus. They are the ones who make those events bright and loud for everyone to enjoy.
Photo by Russell Zingler/Northeastern University
The events crew also has an overdrive mode to engage when a job needs to get done quickly. That is why occasional overnight flips of the arena are not so unusual. As David pointed out, their job is to get stuff done as efficiently and as quickly as possible because “at the end of the day it is all about clients and making sure that the expectations are met.” David also shared the secrete of what makes their “magic” so powerful. That is an incredible commitment that his crew has toward their job. One of the best examples being when coming in at 2:00 AM to figure out why an alarm went off or checking what happened to a compressor that keeps the temperature for the ice floor not to melt is not out of the ordinary for everyone on the crew.
Written by Alex Gritsinin – September 7th, 2021