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I'm Thinking of a Word ... and It Rhymes with Fustercluck

This story from Wednesday's Los Angeles Times should come as no surprise to anyone:

Pauley Pavilion plays catch-up

Matthew Pauley relishes the sense of history inside Pauley Pavilion, the Westwood arena made possible in large part by a $1-million donation from his grandfather to UCLA during the early 1960s.

But the third generation of Pauleys to cheer on the Bruins also worries that the building risks becoming as dated as a Lew Alcindor sky hook.

"Pauley has unbelievable name recognition, and my preference would be to always keep that tradition," said the 38-year-old investment banker who watched his first Bruins basketball game as a toddler and sits in the seats once occupied by his grandfather Edwin W. Pauley. "But I realize what the economics of college sports are, and that the building itself doesn't live up to today's standards of what spectators expect."

The fact that "Big Ed" Pauley's grandson is open to UCLA's athletic department adding a corporate naming-rights partner underscores the spiraling costs and expectations associated with collegiate athletics since Pauley Pavilion opened in 1965 -- with a $5-million price tag.

Changes in store for Pauley could go well beyond a new name. University officials are discussing plans that range from a modest face-lift to an extreme makeover.

But talk of even tinkering with the building where John Wooden's teams made basketball history has created divisions in Bruin Nation. Some say the 38 NCAA championships won by Pauley's basketball, volleyball and gymnastics teams prove that, with a few nips and tucks, the arena can remain competitive with such newer facilities as USC's $146-million Galen Center.

Others suggest that more radical measures, even construction of a new venue on the crowded Westwood campus, be considered.

"It would be awfully hard to put all the things they want to into that building, and make it work without effectively tearing it down," said former UCLA Chancellor Charles Young, who oversaw Pauley's design and construction.


Officials have yet to produce a detailed plan or a timetable for the proposed renovation. That hasn't stopped a high-powered group of alumni and boosters from raising cash and commitments of $40 million so far in a drive that is expected to clear $100 million. And, earlier this month, a new architect was hired to refine the proposed renovation.

Pauley's deficiencies clearly are evident to fans who struggle with uneven aisle steps, inadequate bathrooms and meager food concessions. UCLA also acknowledges the need to improve handicapped access, stay current with earthquake codes and upgrade aging electrical and mechanical systems.

Guerrero is considering a project that could cost more than $200 million, the price tag calculated by an architectural firm last year based upon an extensive wish list submitted by the multipurpose arena's many tenants.

That list included upgraded locker rooms for athletes, coaches and officials, improved weight and training facilities, additional office and meeting space and a practice court. Guerrero, however, cautioned that the initial study was but one stop along the way.

"It would be nice to push the button and go all the way to the penthouse, but that's not how it works," Guerrero said. "It's a fluid process. We have to raise the money, make sure we remain on point with everything and make sure we don't hit any snags along the way."

Feel free to read the whole article, linked above. But the bottom line is, when you hear talk of having a new building for the basketball team by "Coach's 100th birthday," they're talking about Coach Howland, not Coach Wooden.

UPDATE (A): About that headline ...

As I've gone back and forth in the comments section with a few posters, I've started to regret a bit such a confrontational headline. My initial reaction to the Times' article was that someone, somewhere was screwing up.

The more I think about it, I'm not sure that's the case. It's possible someone is screwing up, it's also possible that this is just an enormous project and that it's going to take time.

If anything was "fusterclucked" it was that expectations were raised as to the timing of the project and those expectations were never realistic.

Overall, I'm willing to back off a bit, wait and see, give it a little more time. It may be a while before the whole thing hits fustercluck status.