Bumped. silverlake brings up an interesting idea which I think is worthy of more attention and discussion. GO BRUINS. -N
We are entering a time of great importance in the future of UCLA basketball and the athletic department as whole.
The greatest weakeness of the Athletic Department in the past two decades has been an unwillingness to change and embrace new things, an aversion to risk, and a desire to do things on the cheap. We have seen this play out in the hiring of cheap inexperienced coaches, the retention of staff and coaches who don't get the job done, allowing Pauley to age ungracefully, and various other shortcomings.
Dan Guerrero has done a lot to address these problems, and I commend him for it. However, I am greatly concerned that the current plans for Pauley Pavillion will be a significant error that will set the athletic department back decades.
While the plans haven't been publicly released, word has filtered out from those in the know that the plan is to remodel Pauley with minimal structural changes. Seating in the 300 section will be as bad as it has always been, and there will only be minimal improvement in the 200s with a centering of the court, and angling the seating. The bottom section should see some improvements and additions of seats.
To do this, and make some other necessary improvements (locker room, donor room, facilities, etc) the athletic department needs $160M. For comparison, that is roughly the cost of building the Galen Center. Spending that much money on something that does not address the greatest weakness of the facility for basketball (the distance of most seats from the court and poor sightlines) is a huge mistake.
I would suggest rather than this plan, the University move forward with a new basketball only arena and keep Pauley where it is for other sports and as a practice and multipurpose facility for other sports.
What we should do is build a new basketball only facility at lot 32. The benefits are you don't have to tear anything down, you are within walking distance for students, you keep Pauley operational for non-basketball activities, you bring some life into the businesses in westwood, and you have an arena visible from Wilshire Blvd and the 405, with signage and naming rights to sell to help pay for the arena.
This would be a savior for businesses in Westwood, provide a state of the art facility without the limitations facing Pauley, and still allow practice and other sports to be done at Pauley so Student athletes are not disadvantaged. Also, we would build a building with state of the art seating, restrooms, and amenities, and would make Westwood a destination before and after games.
Why isnt' this being seriously considered? We need to dump the stale thinking of the Morgan Center and think outside the box on this one. The greatness of UCLA is boldness and forward thinking, yet the Pauley project is wrapped in decrepit fearful thinking.
For those of you who don't know, Lot
32 36 is bounded by Wilshire to the south, Gayley to the east, Kinross to the North, and Veteran to the west. There wouldnt be any significant structures that would have to be raised, and being bounded by Willshire would mean easy access for vehicles and public transportation, including eventually the subway. Here is where lot 32 36 is on a map.
We need to demand the same excellence in this project we would for the product on the field and court. I am asking every real true bruin to consider whether a $160M remodel of Pauley that doesn't address the core issues is really the right way to do this, and if not, we should make our voices heard that a new arena is the way to go.