The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

January 26, 2013

Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center

Staff steps up to meet challenges of one of busiest times of the year

BECKLEY — You’d be hard pressed to find someone in Raleigh County who has not attended a game, graduation or other event at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center, but few think about the man-hours needed to get our favorite events and concerts off the ground.

In the midst of one of its busiest weeks in the year with last weekend’s Extreme Bull Riding, Rough and Rowdy Boxing and next week’s Big Atlantic Classic banquet and games, the center employs a lot of hands that make the magic happen.

Extreme Bull Riding came to a close last weekend, so the center had to immediately ready itself for high school basketball practices and Thursday’s Woodrow Wilson High School basketball game.

It may sound like plenty of time to change over, but with bull riding come tons of dirt installed and removed by CPI of Daniels for around 2,000 attendees, said Facilities Manager Dennis Phillips.

With a team of 20 to 30, 12 of whom are full-time regulars, it took all of three days to get the building ready for basketball, said Eugene Petrey, assistant facilities manger.

After CPI removed the dirt, crews took care of the remaining dirt that needed to  be hand-swept and vacuumed.

In addition, the crew had to clean the entire center top to bottom because dirt had been tracked, literally, throughout the facility.

On top of that, it takes the crew about three hours to lay the basketball floor and another three hours to set up bleachers.

Petrey explained that having new temp workers can create added stress.

“Our regular crew has a rhythm. I have to spend my time going around supervising and personally won’t be able to get any of the physical work done,” he said.

The basketball setup will be taken down for the weekend’s Rough and Rowdy Boxing event. The crew will then be cleaning and setting up for a 1,700 seat banquet lunch for the Big Atlantic Classic banquet on Sunday, said Phillips.

The banquet will then be turned into a basketball floor for Big Atlantic Classic basketball games Jan. 28-Feb. 2.

“This will probably be one of the most challenging turnovers we have had in recent memories,” said Phillips, though he pointed out the convention center will again have a 24-hour turnaround between the second day of the 2013 Annual Women’s Expo on March 2-3 and the Harlem Globetrotters show on March 4.

This March changeover will involve taking down tables, chairs and curtains and installing the full basketball floor and bleachers, he said.

While crews feel the pressure of getting the center ready for the public, Phillips said he and his crew are “going to be extra busy, and glad to be so.”

Not only do facilities crews work to get the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center prepared, Executive Chef Roy Lynch has to keep patrons fed, a task that has him going from cooking concession for games to serving a 1,700-plate lunch.

In addition to cooking concessions for the Rough and Rowdy Boxing, the kitchen staff is preparing a meal for a large ski group with more than 500 kids and their chaperons, he added.

Lynch explained that among the challenges he faces are storing enough uncooked food for the hectic week ahead, having enough staff to cook all the food required, and physically getting enough concessions for 700 people at a time and a banquet for 1,700 cooked, plated and kept warm.

He said that cooks will start preparing food at 6 a.m. Sunday for the Big Atlantic Classic lunch banquet.

He explained that a banquet this size will leave around 5,500 plates and utensils dirty, and it will take his staff a full day and a half to clean the dishes and the kitchen.

Typically Lynch has a staff of 15 to 20. For the banquet, he’ll need a staff of 40 to 50 to help plate and serve food, he said.

Lynch was to meet with his sous chef to map out an intricate time schedule delegating prepping, cooking and plating tasks to each crew member.

“There are a lot of challenges and it will be a lot of work, but I am looking forward to it. It is a big honor to cook for Mr. (Jim) Justice (founder of the Big Atlantic Classic banquet and tournament) and it is a fun challenge my staff and I look forward to each year,” he added.

— E-mail: splummer@ register-herald.com

 

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • Justice mines have violations in 5 states

    A West Virginia coal billionaire has more than 250 pending violations at mining operations in Kentucky and four other states.

    July 31, 2014

  • VA Greenbrier clinic to remain closed

    The Department of Veterans Affairs Greenbrier County Community Based Outpatient Clinic will remain closed due to ongoing correction of environmental concerns. 

    July 31, 2014

  • prezarrested.jpg Protesters arrested at UMWA Rally in Pittsburgh

    After marching from the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to the William S. Moorehead Federal Building in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, around 15 United Mine Workers of America (UMW) leaders were arrested.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Mercer shooting sends one to hospital

     One person has been shot following an apparent altercation in the Montcalm area of Mercer County.

    July 31, 2014

  • UMWA1.jpg More than 5,000 protesting new EPA rules at rally

    Today, 73 buses will bring miners and UMW members to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for a labor rally and march through downtown Pittsburgh.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Kroger restricts pseudoephedrine sales in state

    Supermarket chain Kroger is tightening monthly purchase limits of cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine at its West Virginia stores.

    July 31, 2014

  • ‘Biscuit guy’ makes his mark with anthem at TWV

    The old saying “being at the right place at the right time” couldn’t be more true for Calvin Alexander. Thanks to a salad dressing bottle (and some impressive vocal skills), Alexander was invited to sing the national anthem not once, but twice, at Theatre West Virginia before the opening of “Hatfields and McCoys."

    July 31, 2014

  • legion American Legion posts plan to merge

    To help deal with its decreasing membership numbers, Beckley American Legion Post 70 is planning a merger with Post 32. INCLUDES TOUT VIDEO.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • legal Tort reform group brings message to Beckley

    How can West Virginia create more jobs and have a better business climate, at no cost to taxpayers? Greg Thomas, executive director of the West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA), says legal reform is one of the answers to that question.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tri-state coal interests rally before hearings

     More than 2,000 union workers and others organized by the coal industry in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia joined top state elected officials Wednesday to rally against proposed stricter federal pollution regulations for coal-burning power plants.

    July 31, 2014 1 Story