The UCLA administration had been trying to keep it quiet while they raise funds for the new football training facility but we can let you know what we know.
Yes, the Athletic Department is already in the very early stages of working with Coach Alford and developing the concept of what it will be. Obviously, it is currently taking a back seat to the new football training facility as all efforts are gearing up for that.
Currently, they are starting a quiet phase of fundraising. Basically reaching out to all the bigger donors (the whales) who have already donated sizable amounts to the football facility. They have already been tapped for football and and now being asked to help again with basketball. The administration is also reaching out to the pure UCLA basketball fans who have always generously supported UCLA basketball financially but have no interest in football. Right now, they are just mentioning the donation opportunities, and eventually will start asking for early donation commitments. However, we are hearing there is a lot of enthusiasm already from potential donors and some have already promised considerable pledges. The department will then go public with their efforts once the quiet fundraising period has met its goals. This will probably not happen until funding for the new football facility is complete so the two facilities are not competing with each other.
As for the new facility, our sources tell us the project has been on the agenda of the Campus Project Review Committee and the athletic department has finished a goal feasibility study that provided a good idea of how much money they can expect to be able to raise. It looks at the number of potential donors, the number of whales (big donors), how the football facility fundraising went and how it will affect basketball facility fundraising, where other funds can be found, the passion of potential donors, and a lot of other things. From that they will get a number that will set the preliminary budget for the project.
Currently, the working name for the project is the “UCLA Basketball Training Center.” However, the website will be UCLABasketballFacility.com.
As reported by the L.A. Times over a year ago, UCLA promised Coach Alford a new basketball training facility and that a possible location would require the removal of two basketball courts. However, we are hearing they have been looking at some different options since then. Ideally they want it as close to Pauley Pavilion as possible, with some sort of direct access, either by tunnel or overpass. There was also initial talk of tying it into the football training facility but we believe that is no longer the case. The elephant in the room of course is the Acosta Training Center. Sitting directly west of Pauley, it is the ideal location for a basketball facility. Unfortunately, Acosta is still too new and it would be too expensive to move Acosta and renovate the building into a basketball facility. It is a shame that the basketball facility was not part of the Pauley Pavilion renovation project. Many schools like Oregon have tied the arena and the practice facility into the same structure which not only can save millions but can also provide a lot of opportunities to get the “wow” factor for recruiting purposes.
We will assume that ZGF Architects will have the inside track on the project design, and we would support that. They are already the design firm for the new football training facility and it would make sense for them to tie the basketball facility design into it. As far as we know they have not worked on a basketball training facility in the past but they have done work with basketball arenas such as the $44 million dollar makeover of Portland State’s Scott Center.
What can we expect in the new facility?
Two basketball courts.
Weight, training and therapy rooms.
Wow factor for recruiting – the University of Kentucky has a video wall, the University of West Viginia has five 103 inch plasma screens and a 20-foot-high net made with a translucent acrylic in their $24 million dollar facility.
And yes, there is an arms race for basketball practice facilities across the country. We are ecstatic that UCLA is joining. Kentucky started by completing their $30 million dollar facility in 2007 and it is still considered the one to measure all others by. In fact, we can be certain that as UCLA gets closer, Dan Guerrero will make the pilgrimage to Lexington as so many athletic directors have already done to see what is possible.
To give perspective, last year Oregon State opened its new $15 million dollar, 34,500 square foot, four story basketball practice facility. It contains two regulation basketball courts, locker rooms, training and medical areas, and coaches offices. It serves both the men’s ans women’s programs. You can download a PDF with the layout HERE.
As mentioned previously, the University of Kentucky has a $30 million, 102,000 square foot basketball practice facility. With two basketball courts, both the men’s and women’s teams have their own locker rooms, lounges, video rooms, state-of-the-art weight rooms, and coaches’ offices. Many consider it to be one of the most impressive facilities in the country.
We again would like to commend the UCLA administration for taking UCLA athletic facilities to new levels. In the last few years we have seen $11 million raised for the Spieker Aquatics Center used by our aquatics teams, the 2008 renovation of Jackie Robinson Stadium, the $180 million remodel of Pauley Pavilion, the current renovation of Drake Stadium, and of course the announced $50 million dollar football training facility. It takes dedication, commitment and hard work to raise that much money and then to follow through with projects of this size and frequency. Not to mention all the smaller projects that do not get media attention.