Finishing touches
New features and shine greet second season at Haas Pavilion

By D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs

Spieker plaza

Construction crews finish work outside Haas Paviolion as the new Spieker Plaza comes to life. The plaza features landscaping, benches, concrete walkways and a memorial medallion, all part of the new gateway to Haas Pavilion and the campus from Berkeley's southside. Peg Skorpinski photo.

01 NOVEMBER 00 | When the Cal men's basketball team takes on the Los Angeles Stars in the opening exhibition game of the season Thursday at 7:30 p.m., fans entering Haas Pavilion will find work being completed on a new outdoor esplanade and, inside, a newly installed scoreboard and restoration of the original gymnasium's lobby.

These are the finishing touches on the renovation and expansion of Berkeley's historic arena, which opened last year and now seats 12,172 people.

"The beautifully restored lobby and the new scoreboard are great accents to what is already a great venue," said John Kasser, director of athletics.

During the off-season, Cal installed a scoreboard system that rings the arena's interior with panels for video and game statistics, in addition to displaying the score and time.

Spectators can watch instant replays on two new video screens, each 11 feet tall by 14 feet wide, incorporating 1.3 million light-emitting diodes. The screens are installed high above each end of the court. In addition, four large scoreboards have been placed in the corners of the arena and two information display panels, each 12 feet wide, hang above each side of the court for game-related statistics and other messages.

The video screens will display replays and other televised messages, including short videos about Cal events and programs, to be shown during breaks in the games, said Mike Huff, assistant athletic director for facilities.

Two color digital message boards will feature game statistics, graphics and animation, such as Cal's "Go Bears" cheer, graphics of Oski performing stunts and promotional information.

The video screens and message centers employ technology that is new for Berkeley, said Huff. Cal has hired technicians from the NBA's Golden State Warriors basketball team to train the campus staff and assist in operating the new scoreboards this season.

Installing the scoreboard was a substantial engineering feat, he said. The enormous steel-framed boards were raised in eight sections using winches and then hung from reinforced roof trusses and brackets.

Away from the court, polish and finery have been added to the building's lobby. The lobby features a new portrait of the pavilion's namesake, Walter Haas Jr., with the gilded inscription, "Son of California." The lobby's paneled-wood interior has been restored, and the original solid-bronze chandeliers from old Harmon Gymnasium were painstakingly cleaned, polished and re-hung during the off-season.

New lighted display cases containing sports memorabilia, historical information and archival photos chronicling the rich history of Cal athletics were installed. The Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame plaques and donor nameplates also were re-hung.

"My mom and the rest of our family will be in the stands rooting for the Bears this season," said Wally Haas, the son of Walter Haas Jr. "I'm so excited that my dad's dream has been fully realized." The Haas family donated more than $12 million toward construction of the pavilion.

"It's just a magnificent building, something the campus can point to with pride," said Kasser. "It's a fitting tribute to Walter Haas and his family."

Meanwhile, landscaping and construction crews affected by early arrival of the rainy season have been juggling schedules in order to complete the pedestrian esplanade at the pavilion's entrance. When finished, it will be dedicated as Spieker Plaza.

The plaza, which honors donors Ned and Carol Spieker, will be a prominent gateway to campus from Berkeley's southside and welcome visitors to the Haas Pavilion, Spieker Aquatics Complex and other facilities.

A bronze medallion has been created for installation in the center of the plaza. Trees, benches, new lighting fixtures and decorative concrete paving are being added to create a grand entrance to Haas Pavilion.

The Spiekers, both 1966 graduates of Berkeley, donated $5 million to the Cal athletics campaign in 1996. Their gift is the second largest ever made to the university's athletics department.

As a student, Ned Spieker was a member of the Cal swimming and water polo teams. In the early 1980s, a gift from the Spiekers funded construction of the campus's Spieker Aquatics Complex, the pool and facilities adjacent to Spieker Plaza.


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