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Turning a convention center into a basketball arena

By Laura Halm
Published On: Feb 20 2013 01:55:57 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 21 2013 12:25:52 PM CST
convention
KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

The next few days more than 300 basketball players will be running up and down the court in this year's Appalachian Athletic Conference.

But something you might be surprised to hear is that games are being held inside the Meadowview Convention Center. We wanted to know, what does it take to set up the temporary arena?

Talk about a courtside seat -- the Meadowview Convention Center is definitely not where you would expect to see a basketball court. "We were looking at it at the beginning, you could see the creases in the floor. So we were a little skeptical, but not really nervous. It was nice, felt like a regular wood court," said Krystal Morissette, a forward for Columbia College.

Teams are playing on a 94' regulation-size court. You might be asking yourself, how did the room transform to a basketball court? Believe it or not, it only took about three hours to set up. "That includes setting up goals, shot clocks, game clocks, the whole nine yards," said Frank Lett with Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau is now the proud owner of two portable courts. "It definitely had a nice bounce to it," added Morisette. "I compared it to an NBA-style tile and it looked really nice," said Kadijah Watts, a guard for Columbia College.

The price tag on both basketball courts was about $200,000, but we learned it was actually out-of-town visitors that footed the bill through a lodging tax.

These courts have a future: we learned they'll be used for volleyball and basketball tournaments during the next few months. "We're one of the only facilities on the east coast right now that has a convention center tied with a full-service hotel all in one location," added Lett.

That's a win-win situation for players. "I don't have to wake up earlier, I don't have to do anything extra. I can just get up, come here, practice, warm up, and win. Then start it all over again," added Watts.

News 5 learned when it comes to fans, about 600 seats are currently available with enough room to add another 400 seats around the one court.