BERKELEY – With a goal to enhance both the fan and student-athlete experience on the University of California, Berkeley, campus, Walter A. Haas Jr. Pavilion will soon undergo a major renovation that will include a new center-hung scoreboard, upgraded sound and lighting systems, and modernized video production facilities.
The project, estimated at $10 million, will be made possible through a generous gift from the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund that will cover the cost of the improvements. Construction is expected to begin in May 2015 and be completed in time for the fall 2015 intercollegiate athletics seasons.
Haas Pavilion initially opened in 1933 and was known as Harmon Gym for more than 60 years. The arena was renamed Haas Pavilion in 1999 following a two-year renovation that nearly doubled capacity to 11,877 seats. The facility is named for Walter A. Haas Jr. ’37, who, with his wife, Evelyn, provided the lead gift through their family foundation.
“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.”
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. With this announcement, we are entering the next phase of Haas Pavilion and are ushering in a renewed Cal spirit that strikes a balance between tradition and innovation. We are incredibly appreciative of the Haas family for recognizing the value in improving our current facilities to meet the ever growing needs of our student body.”
When the Golden Bears and their fans return to Haas Pavilion in the fall of 2015, they will be greeted by 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.
In addition, the project will include an enhancement to the public address system and acoustical treatments to improve sound quality throughout the venue. The lighting system will also be improved, and an expanded and modernized video production room will enrich fans’ viewing experience.
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.
“These important enhancements to Haas Pavilion do more than just elevate our ability to recruit world-class student-athletes to Berkeley,” head women’s basketball coach Lindsay 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.”
“Lindsay and I, as well as the entire Cal community, are very appreciative of the Haas family for its generosity to Cal Athletics and the University,” head men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin said. “Cal student-athletes are attracted to our campus for the unparalleled academic, cultural and athletic experience they receive. 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.”
As a result of these additions and improvements to Haas Pavilion, the current scoreboard system that rings the court will be removed, and the banners recognizing retired jerseys and athletic accomplishments will be relocated inside the bowl.
The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund has a long history of giving to advance excellence at Cal in academics as well as athletics. Its gifts support the UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity, undergraduate scholarships including those for undocumented students, Intercollegiate Athletics, the Haas School of Business, Cal Performances and much more. Noted for its philanthropic impact in the Bay Area, California and beyond, the Haas, Jr. Fund is based in San Francisco and has awarded more than $475 million in grants to date.