Paycom Center, managed by ASM Global and home to the NBA’s Oklahoma City (OKC) Thunder, is a 581,000-square-foot facility that can hold more than 18,000 attendees. It welcomes over 700,000 people annually to events, Thunder games, and OKC Blue G-League basketball games.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S., Paycom Center garnered national attention. It was the host of the March 11, 2020 NBA game that became the first professional sporting event to be cancelled after a player tested positive for COVID-19. Paycom Center was also the first of many event facilities needing to reevaluate staffing and operational processes to keep up with pandemic-related protocol.
“Being that we were on the forefront of the pandemic in the U.S., we wanted to make sure we set an example for other large venues on cleanliness and disinfection,” said Paycom Center Housekeeping Coordinator Chris Charles. “Our team worked tirelessly to stay informed about new protocols and procedures and actively implemented policies that would ensure health and safety in our facility. Organizations like the Global Biorisk Advisory Council™ (GBAC) were imperative to our education and greatly assisted us in setting our standards.”
Paycom Center’s operations team researched programs that would help them remain a leader in cleaning and disinfecting for health. Familiar with ISSA and its highly respected standard of building maintenance, the team decided that adding the GBAC STAR Accreditation would help them to demonstrate that their arena is a safe place to hold large public events.
ASM Global also offers each of its venues the opportunity to join the VenueShield program, designed as a comprehensive program that sets the standard for industrial disinfection and workforce safety initiatives, developed in accordance with international guidelines from the CDC, NHS, PHAA, and WHO, among others. When paired with GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation, Paycom Center goes above and beyond for the health and safety of its employees and guests.
To achieve GBAC STAR accreditation, organizations work with the GBAC team to demonstrate compliance with the program’s 20 elements including cleaning and disinfecting chemicals, risk mitigation, training, emergency preparedness, and sustainability. Facilities renew their accreditation each year to ensure continuous improvement and accountability.
“Thanks to the training materials and information received during the GBAC STAR Accreditation process, we now strive to clean with health in mind,” said Charles. “Our Housekeeping Supervisors go through the accreditation process and bring a “cleaning with health and safety in mind” attitude into our daily operations.”
By achieving GBAC STAR accreditation and VenueShield, Paycom Center realized the following benefits:
- Improved cleaning processes. Through the accreditation process, Paycom Center evaluated its cleaning program to identify areas for improvement. With the help of GBAC, the team implemented comprehensive training and new cleaning protocols. When the Delta and Omicron variants emerged, GBAC helped Paycom Center stay in the loop on updated protocols and at the forefront of new procedures.
The center also implemented new biohazard response protocols like using the correct one-step, hospital grade disinfectants, purchasing dozens of electro-static sprayers, and updating PPE standards per CDC guidelines and GBAC STAR recommendations.
- Increased customer confidence. Providing a safe environment for their community was at the top of Paycom Center’s list of concerns. With GBAC STAR Accreditation, the team has gained the knowledge to lead by example on proper disinfection and infection prevention. Guests rest assured that they are entering a safe and healthy environment to enjoy one of many events hosted annually. As the first large event center in Oklahoma to achieve accreditation, Paycom Center has been able to comfortably maintain its reputation as one of the cleanest buildings in the NBA, hosting 91 events since achieving accreditation.
“We strive to continue to lead by example on proper disinfection and infection prevention. We do not want to let our community and local economy down by any negative effect stemming from an outbreak in our building,” said Charles. “Likewise, we want our guests to know when they enter our building, they are entering a safe and healthy environment to enjoy one of the many great events.”
“Not only has GBAC STAR Accreditation made our building a safer place for our guests, but it has also helped make our Housekeeping Department run more efficiently,” concluded Charles. “We want to remain a leader in cleaning, disinfection, and infection prevention, and annual GBAC STAR Accreditation will help us do just that.”