UCLA to renovate famous court

Updated: May 11, 2009, 9:36 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- UCLA is giving Pauley Pavilion a $185 million facelift in hopes of putting one of college basketball's most recognized arenas on the national map again.

The renovation plans, announced Monday, will include a new entrance, locker rooms for both the men's and women's basketball teams and over 1,000 additional seats to bring its capacity to nearly 14,000.

The construction, expected to start in February 2010 and finish in the fall of 2012, will displace the men's and women's teams for the 2011-12 season.

Bruins coach Ben Howland said losing a season's of home games won't be too discouraging, though, considering how the new plans could give UCLA an edge in recruiting in the future.

"This is going to be great for the program, long term. This building has been great for 40-plus years and I think it being remodeled is going to continue to be great for the next 50 years," Howland said. "Every kid gets excited, especially today's kid, by new facilities. When you put it in the middle of this campus, you have the perfect storm. It's a great combination."

The indoor arena is one of the oldest in college basketball history. It opened in 1965 when Hall of Fame coach John Wooden was at the helm and it was home to 10 national championship teams during his tenure. The Pavilion hosted the gymnastics competition in the 1984 Olympics, a presidential debate in 1988, and concerts featuring Frank Sinatra and Luciano Pavarotti.

The Bruins haven't settled on a playing location for 2011-12, but are looking at the Staples Center, as well as the Honda Center in Orange County and the Forum in Inglewood as potential sites.

Pauley's new look will feature a high-definition video scoreboard, 25 new concession stands, a new basketball court, player lounges with a film room and weight room as well as new restrooms.

The biggest physical difference?

A 40,000-foot extension on the north side of the building that will feature a 35-foot high glass enclosed entrance, new lobby and concourse.

The renovation has been in the works for a few years, but UCLA only announced its final plans recently. The university is seeking $100 million of its construction costs through "The Campaign of Champions," a fundraising plan announced Monday. The university has already raised $52.5 million from donors and sponsors.

The remainder of the money will come from annual student fees and external financing.

The Pavilion could have an attachment to its renowned name if sponsors are interested.

"We have the ability and the authorization from the Pauley family that if the circumstances came to be, we could put an attachment name to it but at this point and time we're not there," UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said.

Fans won't be able to take a look at the seating plans until UCLA releases it on July 1.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press