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UCLA to outline plans for Pauley Pavilion

School officials will also start a fundraising campaign to help pay for the $185-million renovation project.

May 11, 2009|David Wharton

Other than championship banners hung from the rafters, not much has changed around Pauley Pavilion since the arena opened in 1965.

A building steeped in college basketball tradition has become more outdated with each passing year.

This afternoon, university officials will give the public a glimpse of a $185-million project that, over the next 2 1/2 years, aims to enlarge the multipurpose facility by nearly 30% and drag it into modern times.

They'll also start a fundraising campaign to help pay for the work.

Pauley Pavilion's shortcomings have been cast in a brighter light with the recent opening of the Galen Center across town at USC.

UCLA administrators wanted to preserve the history of their arena. Replacing it altogether would have been costly and difficult given its long, skinny footprint.

Still, the renovation is expected to address a number of issues.

A change in seating could eliminate the empty spaces behind each basket, increase capacity and make crowd noise more of a factor during games.

The three concession areas are squeezed into tight spaces with additional food booths set up outside.

Fans have complained about uneven steps and a shortage of restrooms; the teams use old locker rooms.

The building also needs upgrades in its disabled-access and safety systems.

According to a document filed with the University of California regents, UCLA plans to do significant expansion underground, increasing the size by almost 57,000 gross square feet.

Construction work would begin in February 2010 and be sequenced over the ensuing months so that teams could continue to use the building except for a period from April 2011 to October 2012.

During that time, the Bruins would compete at a yet-to-be-determined site.

The university hopes to raise $100 million of the construction costs through "The Campaign of Champions." Annual fees that students already pay would provide $25 million and the remaining $60 million would come from external financing.

At this point, the document said, UCLA has received $3 million in gifts, $14 million in pledges and $33 million in unconfirmed pledges. That leaves $50 million still to be raised.

Administrators have left open the possibility that they will have to increase the amount to be financed. That raises a question about whether fans will bear some of the brunt, perhaps through donations to gain access to better seats.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Athletic Director Dan Guerrero will offer more specifics during an announcement at Pauley Pavilion today. The public is invited to attend the 1 p.m. event, with the arena doors opening at 12:30.

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david.wharton@latimes.com

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