So, enough history, already. Are we going to get a renovated Pauley Pavilion or not?
We've seen that we can't allow ourselves to be lulled into complacency by the AD's yearly update. Sure, hearing something intriguing about the proposed flashy new amenities every year or so is all well and good, but it means nothing without any follow through. And its about time to demand more forthright information about the timing and substance of the proposed project. But, where does that leave us? Is there any genuine hope?
I think so. Despite the obstacles, I think we can have a restored Pauley by the end of the decade. And its not because I have a cool $10 million burning a hole in my pocket. So, why the optimism? Well, a few things.
First off, we have one of the best teams in the land. Not only do we have a quality group of players, and incredible incoming pipeline of recruits, and a dream head coach in his dream job, we also have a talented supporting cast, including some assistants that don't get as much credit as they deserve. What does that mean? It means that, barring something unforeseen, we are going to have a quality product on the court for the foreseeable future. It means that we will keep the seats full. It means that the media, like it or not, will have to keep watching. And, for all these reasons, the administration will have no choice but to recognize how important the continued vitality of this program is to everything they do. In other words, we have fertile ground for a renovation project.
Also, the lynchpin of all this success, Ben Howland, has a track record that bodes well for a renovation project. Anyone been to this place?
Yep, that's the state of the art Petersen Events Center, which is described by the good folks in Pittsburgh as follows:
When Ben arrived in Pittsburgh in 1999, and began an impressive transformation of that program, he also managed to be a part of a successful building project. By mid-2000, construction crews had broken ground, and on April 27, 2002, the arena opened after a $119 million investment in the project. And, just like I feel pretty good about Ben getting it done on the court, am also confident that he is working hard to get the Pauley project moving as well.
Second, we have a new man at the top. And I mean the top-top. Nestor has already been so kind as to make the introduction. As you know, UCLA has a new chancellor, Gene D. Block. It will be a few months before he takes office, but we have at least one reason to hope chancellor Block will make restoring Pauley a priority. Perhaps you've been here:
This is the John Paul Jones Arena, which opened in the summer of 2006, replacing and almost doubling in size Virginia's previous facility, University Hall. It hard to tell how much of a role chancellor (then Virginia's provost) Block had in this project, but it good news that he comes from a university that has historically made first class athletic facilities a high priority.
Third, despite my feelings about the direction of the football program, I still have some faith left in Dan Guerrero. The clock is ticking, and I think we all deserve some information, answers and action, but I can't help but think that the coach who brought us Ben Howland (with a hearty assist from Ben himself) will get this done. Don't prove me wrong, Dan.
Fourth, we have, well, us. That's right. We have perhaps the most engage, energetic, informed and resourceful fan bases, right here. And we can make a difference. Listen, I am not one to discount the power of coincidence. But, I can't help to think that the administration is starting to notice the importance of this project to the larger Bruins nation. So, as charnaw pointed out, this was released by the athletic department just yesterday.
Renovation plan moving forward
Jan. 11, 2007
UCLA has taken formal steps toward a major renovation of legendary Pauley Pavilion. The university is committed to restoring Pauley Pavilion, home to championship Basketball, Gymnastics and Volleyball teams, prominent events and essential student-related activities, to a world-class athletic and cultural venue.
UCLA Athletics is presently in the process of generating funding for the project and has developed a list of potential naming opportunities for prospective donors to be recognized for various levels of contributions to the project. The goal is to dedicate the restored Pauley Pavilion on October 14, 2010, to honor Coach John Wooden on his 100th birthday.
UCLA Capital Programs recently published a request for qualifications (RFQ) to begin the formal process to retain an Executive Architect for the renovation and expansion of Pauley Pavilion. Interested parties have until January 16, 2007 to respond with a package documenting their relevant experience. UCLA has formed a selection committee to evaluate potential candidates and anticipates having an Executive Architect in place during the first quarter of 2007.
And, as Allofmybros has pointed out already, its seems like more and more folks, including our friends in the MSM, are starting to take some notice.
Again, I can't get too excited about all this. On the one hand, I'm heartened by the fact that the athletic department feels confident enough about its progress to announce a tentative 2010 deadline for the "restored Pauley", which, as some folks have already pointed out, would mean that we could expect a funding push by the end of this year (as DG said in December), and even construction relatively soon. On the other hand, we've heard similar promises before, without results.
But, at least we have some good reasons to have hope. Sure, the latest press release isn't enough to placate us. We want to see tangible evidence of progress on this long overdue renovation project. But, it's a a step in the right direction.
Next up: Part V: Doing it Right