One day after a ruptured water main just north of UCLA's campus flooded several of its athletic facilities including Pauley Pavilion, athletic director Dan Guerrero offered an encouraging update on the condition of the venerable basketball arena.
He told reporters in Westwood on Wednesday that UCLA will have to practice elsewhere for the foreseeable future but that repairs to Pauley Pavilion will be complete in time for the Bruins' exhibition opener on Oct. 31.
"While assessments are ongoing in regard to the damage and how to proceed, the building itself has not been structurally compromised," Guerrero said in a message posted on UCLA's athletics site. "The largest issue we currently face within Pauley is in regard to the playing surface. We have numerous options, and based on the information our experts and consultants have provided thus far, I am confident that the facility will be ready for our men’s and women’s basketball teams this upcoming season."
Guerrero's confidence is excellent news for a UCLA program that surely did not want to either barnstorm throughout Southern California or play all its home games at the decaying Los Angeles Sports Arena again. The Bruins did that with disastrous results while Pauley Pavilion underwent a $136 million renovation during the 2011-12 season, failing to even contend for an NCAA tournament bid and seeing attendance dip to record low levels.
There had been concern Tuesday night that Pauley Pavilion might not be ready in time for UCLA's season opener after floodwater submerged the court and damaged the locker rooms and other facilities. Photos like this one from KTTV's Liz Habib suggest the floor itself will almost certainly have to be replaced but Guerrero appeared optimistic that damage elsewhere was minor.
Silt remains on the surface of the track at Drake Stadium, but Guerrero is hopeful it will not need major repairs once clean-up efforts are complete. Damage to the school's football complex and weight training center were minor enough that the buildings will be fully operational post-clean-up. And through the quick work of staffers and student-athletes who volunteered to help, the memorabilia and championship trophies inside UCLA's athletics hall of fame are intact and undamaged.
Given that 8 to 10 million gallons of water poured from Sunset Boulevard onto the UCLA campus on Tuesday evening, Wednesday's report was about as uplifting as the Bruins could have expected.
They may not practice in Pauley Pavilion for a few weeks, but their 2014-15 as a whole will not be disrupted.
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