Basketball: $10 mil in improvements coming to Haas

Haas Pavilion will receive $10 million in improvements, including a center-hung scoreboard, to be completed by the fall of 2015, the athletic department announced Monday.

The renovation, made possible through a gift from the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, will also provide upgraded sound and lighting systems and modernized video production facilities.

Construction is expected to begin in May.

Originally opened as Harmon Gym in 1933, the arena was renamed Haas Pavilion in 1999 after a two-year renovation that boosted the capacity to 11,877. Walter A. Haas Jr. and his wife Evelyn provided the lead gift that allowed the reconstruction in the late 1990s.

“We’re extremely pleased to help Cal Athletics ensure that Haas Pavilion continues to be a well-equipped and dynamic venue for student-athletes, their coaches and passionate Bear fans,” Walter J. Haas, Chair of the Haas, Jr. Fund said. “My father was a devoted Cal alum, and he believed in the power of sports to galvanize not only a team but the entire community. This gift embodies his legacy.”

When the new renovations are complete, fans will enjoy a center-hung scoreboard that will feature state-of-the-art LED displays and new corner entrance and fascia LED displays on either end of the court. The overall dimensions of the scoreboard will be 28 feet by 13 feet on each of the four sides.

Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said he and women’s coach Lindsay Gottlieb both are appreciative of the coming improvements.

“Cal student-athletes are attracted to our campus for the unparalleled academic, cultural and athletic experience they receive,” he said. “Basketball games provide the Berkeley community with a gathering place for celebration and connection, and these improvements to Haas Pavilion will add to that environment.”

Haas Pavilion serves as the home venue for five of Cal’s sports programs – men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s gymnastics. In addition, it houses training facilities, offices and locker rooms for 10 intercollegiate athletics teams, as well as most of the athletic department’s administrative offices.

“Haas Pavilion is much more than just another campus building,” Deputy Director of Athletics for External Relations Phil Esten said. “What happens inside the corridors and on the arena floor cannot be replicated. These are shared experiences that forge an everlasting bond between the students and the University.”

The lead engineer for the undertaking will be Idibri, an international firm specializing in technology design, theater consulting and acoustics that has overseen video or audio upgrades at such venues as AT&T Park in San Francisco, Angel Stadium in Anaheim, and Pauley Pavilion and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Gottlieb said the improvement will benefit more than merely the school’s teams.

“These important enhancements to Haas Pavilion do more than just elevate our ability to recruit world-class student-athletes to Berkeley,” Gottlieb said. “They directly contribute to the Cal student, alumni and campus experience as a whole. These significant upgrades will take our home arena – already an exceptional gathering place for tens of thousands of students, alumni and fans – to an entirely new level that will benefit all who play in and visit Haas Pavilion every day of the year.”

Jeff Faraudo

  • IT_Pro47

    All sounds good to me… thanks Haas family! GO BEARS!!!

  • acaldude

    JF – will anything be done with the sight lines for tv? Seems like from where they shoot the video isn’t ideal, very high up and the angle stinks. It feels more “in game” in other venues.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Will this convice Rabb to join the squad? It can only help… Go Bears!

  • Juancho

    Flat out awesome.