Pauley financing approvedThe UC regents unanimously approved a financing plan and environmental review Thursday, July 16, for the renovation of Pauley Pavilion, after Chancellor Gene Block reassured them that the money for the arena could not legally be used to solve the campus' budget problems in other areas.
A rendering of new arena planned for Pauley, providing more seating and bringing fans closer to the on-court action.
"Some members in the UCLA community have suggested that the project be deferred, given the university's budget crisis," Block said in a July 14 presentation to the regents' Committee on Grounds and Buildings, meeting at UC San Francisco's Mission Bay campus. "It's critical to note that none of the funds proposed for Pauley can be used to mitigate the impact of the state budget crisis and cuts on campus."
Donations to the Pauley project cannot be diverted to paying for courses or salaries either, Block explained. At a Q&A session with staff in June, some employees asked Block why the campus didn't refocus its fundraising efforts on earning donations for salaries instead of projects like Pauley. Donors tend to be most interested in supporting areas based on personal interest, such as cancer or schizophrenia research, or endowing a professor or a scholarship, or funding a construction project, and less interested in funding general operating costs such as salaries and utilities that they believe the state should support, UCLA officials have said.
View of the new Pauley from the north.
"From gifts raised specifically for this project, we have $52 million that has been committed to date toward that goal," Olsen told the regents.
Not only is Pauley overdue for refurbishment, but the recessionary market actually makes it a good time to move forward with construction, Block said.
"Recent bids for other UC projects have been up to 40 percent below pre-bid estimates," the chancellor said. "Proceeding now will save millions. … We recognize that it's an awkward time to move ahead … but deferring the project would not help us with our budget problems, but it would increase the future cost."
As part of the $185 million package, the regents also approved $60 million in external financing, with the debt to be paid by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. No campus revenues will support the debt service, Olsen emphasized. The remainder of the funding will come from $15 million in Student Programs, Activities and Resources Center fees and $10 million in Student Seismic fees.
An illustration of the planned exterior for the renovated Pauley Pavilion, with glass walls to open up the concourse.
The Pauley project would upgrade the building's seismic rating from "fair" to "good," update the obsolete fire safety system, adjust the awkward stairs between the seating aisles to make them even and include handrails, add needed restrooms, modernize the locker rooms and more, Block and Olsen told the regents.
"Electrical, plumbing, mechanical and seismic systems have exceeded their useful lives and need to be replaced and upgraded. Pauley also lacks the modern safety features and amenities needed to successfully operate multipurpose events," Block said. "The renovation of Pauley Pavilion, now 45 years old, is overdue."
The arena will also be built with environmentally friendly features, such as a white roof, low-flow plumbing and low-water-use landscaping, which should make it eligible for a LEED-Silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, Olsen said.
Pauley is more than just a basketball arena, both UCLA leaders emphasized. Although it certainly hosts athletics – basketball, gymnastics and volleyball – it was built in 1965 as a multipurpose arena.
"The facility supports campus needs for intramural sports, commencement celebrations, Staff Assembly meetings, as well as public events, concerts, presidential events and the like," Block said. "Pauley Pavilion is an important symbol of UCLA's overall reputation for excellence."