PASADENA - The Pasadena City Council last week approved a $152 million financing plan to renovate the Rose Bowl, the largest investment in the history of the 88-year-old iconic stadium.The financing plan includes lease extensions that ensures UCLA will play its home football games at the Rose Bowl through 2042 and the Rose Bowl Game will be played there through at least 2043. The focus of the three-phase project is improving tunnel ingress/egress, improving concourse circulation, increasing the number of concession stands and restrooms, improved seating in a rebuilt press box, a new scoreboard and video board. The renovation will also address stadium infrastructure needs that will allow the stadium to operate "for decades to come." Work is scheduled to begin in January and continue outside the football season through August 2013. Primary funding for the renovations will come from bonds to be issued by the city of Pasadena. Financing of the bonds and "definitive agreements" need to be finalized before ground is broken. Both are anticipated by mid-November, officials said. "We are very pleased that we have been able to develop a renovation plan that has been embraced by the stakeholders of the Rose Bowl and our community, and also provide a financial plan agreeable to the city council," said Darryl Dunn, general manager of the Rose Bowl. Renovations will not affect UCLA football games or Rose Bowl games. Outside of the press box renovation, work on most other elements is planned between football seasons. "The renovation of the Rose Bowl…is a vital piece of maintaining the history of the Rose Bowl Game and ensuring its success," said Scott McKibben, executive director of the Tournament of Roses. "We are confident we will remain the premier bowl game annually for our participants, spectators and broadcast audience throughout the world with proper enhancements to this storied facility." A private philanthropic group, Legacy Connections Inc., will conduct a fundraising campaign to raise funds for additional - but unspecified - project elements to complete the renovation. The renovation project will include: Improved entrance and exiting plan - These times will be improved through tunnel widening, adding aisles and seat access via the field. Increased concourse capacity - Provides more room for fans and easier access to and from seats and amenities. Restroom improvements - The number of restrooms will be increased. Increased concessions - The number of concession areas will be increased by 50%. New video board - The renovation will provide a state-of-the-art video board that will be 2 1/2 times larger than the current video board. Scoreboard - The renovation will include a reconstruction of the south scoreboard that recalls the 1940s vintage scoreboard. Field hedge - The stadium will reestablish the historic field hedge. This will become an integral element of the field-level stadium access, acting as the barrier between fans and the playing field. Press box renovations - The press box will be substantially reconstructed to include a limited inventory of modern amenities such as luxury suites, loge boxes, club seats and lounge areas. Capacity - Overall seating capacity is expected to be reduced by about 3,000 seats. Total capacity is expected to continue to exceed 89,000.
********** Published: October 21, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 27