Sunday, July 21

Editorial: Pauley Pavilion renovation status should be kept public

The careers of UCLA students begin and end inside Pauley Pavilion. We enter the legendary arena at freshman orientation, slightly awestruck. Four years later, we exit the same doors adorned in black robes and caps.

And that isn’t even counting the basketball most of us watch in between.

Although there has been much controversy swirling around the $185 million renovation of Pauley Pavilion, this board recognizes the critical function of this campus icon and anxiously awaits the day the arena reopens its doors, better than ever. At the same time, our endorsement of the project is tempered by a call for greater transparency and a plea for assurance that the project is meeting all of its proposed deadlines.

A project of this price tag warrants serious scrutiny. The success of the renovation concerns the entire UCLA community, and updates about the project ““ particularly regarding its budget and timeline ““ should be disclosed to the public as early and as often as possible.

UCLA Athletics must disclose how close it is to reaching its fundraising goals and must keep the public informed if cost estimates change.

There are already misconceptions about the renovation that could be dispelled by straightforward talk about the project’s details. Many students and community members mistakenly believe that the renovation is being funded at the expense of adequate funding for education.

In reality, student fees only account for $25 million of the project’s budget, while $100 million will come from revenue generated by ticket sales and independent fundraising efforts by UCLA Athletics, and the remaining $60 million will come from external financing.

The $25 million that does come from student fees was earmarked by the passage of the SPARC facilities fee referendum in 2000 and by the campus-based fee to support seismic improvements for student facilities.

The widespread and misguided belief that the renovation is predominantly funded by student fees is precisely why this board believes transparency is crucial. Athletics must be up-front with information, especially if the project hits a funding or construction snag.

Regardless, in 2012 ““ when the renovation is projected to be completed ““ the years of toil will have improved our Pauley experience.

To some, that Pauley experience begins and ends with basketball. The construction may be inconvenient, but students will appreciate more floor seats, more bathrooms and a giant video board.

And for those who don’t watch basketball, Pauley houses much more. We must not forget that the arena hosts three other sports and attracts notable speakers and performances, including Bruin Bash and Spring Sing.

We all use Pauley Pavilion and will enjoy its many new amenities. All parties involved in this debate concede that our campus icon needs a face-lift, and this board is not about to disagree.

We simply ask that, due to the cost and impact this project has on the entire UCLA community, we be kept as informed as possible about each step of the renovation as it takes shape over the next three years.

Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the editorial board.

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