Built originally for the 1962 World's Fair as the Washington State Pavilion, KeyArena was an architectural wonder for its time. In 1995, a $100 million reconstruction project gutted the interior and turned it into its modern structure, which is home to three professional sports teams and host to major concerts and annual family shows. Today, KeyArena, one of the many structures in the Seattle Center complex, is one of the premier concert venues on the West Coast with over 1.2 million visitors annually. Not surprisingly, the logistics of maintaining safety and security within KeyArena through its environmental transformations and during its variety of events are staggering.
KeyArena - its history, its current structural configuration, its operational uses as a multi-function venue and its unique standing as a landmark - provide loss control challenges on many levels beyond many other hospitality-based facilities. Here, loss control activities must address safety and security issues for staff and contract, temporary and vendor workers who will be working in and around the building, as well as for members of the public who will be on the premises. The types of events held at KeyArena include: professional basketball games (men's and women's), professional ice hockey games, ice skating shows, concerts, family shows, circus performances, meetings, conventions and festivals.
Because of its landmark status, loss control activities must be expanded to address safety and security-related issues that affect the geographic region. The potential for emergencies related to terrorist actions, and the special considerations they bring with them for the facility and the area surrounding it, require even more diligence and planning.
Another unique aspect to loss control activities at KeyArena is associated with the timing and pace at which transformations of the facility must often take place. It is not unusual for the venue to be completely changed numerous times in a short time span. For example, a common schedule might require a change in the set-up from an ice hockey rink to a basketball court and then back to an ice hockey rink - all within a 24-hour time frame.
The loss control activities are carried out by a safety coordinator, under the direction of the Director of Commercial Facilities and Events. A safety committee, comprised of ten members, meets quarterly in a support role as well. Key supervisors and employees serve as members of the safety committee.
There are approximately 300 permanent, full-time employees and 2,500 on-call workers that can work anywhere in the Seattle Center complex. There are a number of shops and buildings on the grounds from which workers provide services and support to maintain the facilities. These include a paint shop, plumbing shop, metal fabrication shop, carpenter shop, electrical shop and a landscaping shed. Forklifts and a broad range of other types of equipment are maintained and operated by staff.