May 5, 2010
On Tuesday, May 11, UCLA will host the Pauley Pavilion Groundbreaking Celebration (for details, please click here). With the event less than one week away, UCLA Athletic Dan Guerrero gives answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about the Pauley Pavilion project.
Q: The original estimate for the campaign was for $185 million and now it is at $136 million. Why is the cost so much lower than the original project estimate?
A: A benefit of the current economic climate is that construction costs in the bidding process came in much lower than we originally estimated. This is consistent with other recent projects on campus that have also benefitted from favorable bids.
Q: Does the new lower cost mean that the project has been scaled back?
Even though we were able to trim nearly $50 million from the original project costs, the renovation plan remains 100 percent intact. All the infrastructure and amenities improvements we previously announced at the campaign kickoff will be included in the renovation.
Q: If there were not a Pauley Pavilion transformation project, would any work be needed on the building?
A: Absolutely. Two independent engineers hired by the architects stated that the infrastructure of the building - the plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems - had outlived their useful life. The University would still have to replace the infrastructure - a cost estimated to be at least $50 million of the total budget - even if there were no transformation project. With state resources being virtually non-existent for this purpose, the campus could have been facing a real dilemma.
In addition to the need to completely replace the plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems, the building needs seismic work to upgrade it from a rating of "Fair" to a rating of "Good." It also has life-safety and Americans with Disabilities Act issues that must be addressed to bring the building up to current building codes. This work is included in the renovation plan.
Q: Will any of the savings be passed on to donors and season ticket holders?
A: The Athletics Department and the University are re-evaluating the financial component of the project. It is important to first note that the goal for the Campaign of Champions remains the same - raise $100 million in private funds. If Athletics is successful in this endeavor, it will be delighted to provide relief to our season ticket holders by reducing the required annual Wooden Fund donation once the project is completed.
However, we first have to figure how much of the $100 million will have some finance cost associated with it. For example, if someone donates $10 million to the project, typically it may be over 5 years because of the size of that donation. The difference in the dollars pledged and the dollars "in house" at the time of the project's completion has to be financed, just as if you were taking out a loan. The Athletics Department must pay principal and interest on that amount which must be calculated into the annual fundraising model.
Q: How do you respond to critics of the renovation plan?
A: When dealing with a major project and an iconic building such as Pauley Pavilion, there are sure to be differences of opinion. An objective review of the renovation plan by industry experts shows that it is a responsible plan to preserve and improve Pauley for its intended uses. It addresses many long-needed infrastructure and amenities improvements required to ensure that the venue serves the current and future needs of the UCLA community.
Q: Are you concerned about raising all the funds needed for the Campaign of Champions?
A: We have made impressive progress towards reaching our $100-million Campaign of Champions goal. More than 600 donors have already rallied around this legendary structure with gifts and pledges totaling more than $65 million. We are working very hard and remain resolute in our commitment to raise the remaining dollars needed. With the reduction in construction costs achieved during the bidding process, the campus is comfortable proceeding with the renovation.
Q: When do you need to reach the $100 million mark?
A: Our goal is to reach the $100 million mark as quickly as possible. Now that construction has started and the clock is counting down until the doors re-open on the transformed Pauley Pavilion, we anticipate that we will see a wave of loyal Bruins participate in the Campaign of Champions.
Q: Is the Campaign of Champions only for the wealthy?
A: The effort to bring Pauley Pavilion into the 21st Century will take a community-wide effort, inclusive of everyone who appreciates the overall excellence of UCLA and the athletic program. Every gift makes a difference, no matter the size, and we are extremely grateful to those of you who have generously contributed to the campaign thus far. We look forward to many others joining the Campaign of Champions. We have structured the campaign in such a way to include fans at various economic levels. We know times are tough. It is for this reason that we engaged focus groups, reviewed surveys and took advice from key athletic stakeholders in developing the model, including the seating and financial plan and the priority point system, that will allow us to complete this project.
Q: With the required contributions to the Wooden Athletic Fund, won't many long-time season ticket holders be priced out of Pauley Pavilion?
A: No. We have structured the Campaign of Champions so that season ticket holders can choose a participation level that's right for them. We are pleased that among the 600 donors who have made gifts already, many are long-time season ticket holders. People have made gifts at levels that they are most comfortable with, from small donations to more sizeable contributions. Some will be required to move their seats to a different location, but they will still have the opportunity to continue their support of the project and the program. Once again, it will take the effort of the entire UCLA community to complete this project.
Q: Can people expect to pay more for tickets in the renovated Pauley Pavilion?
A: While ticket prices have not been set for the 2012 season, we will continue to balance the need to generate funds to support our athletic budget, with the goal of keeping ticket prices close to current levels.