Arizona formally announced a $30 million phase of renovations for McKale Center today, with benefactors Jeannie and Cole Davis kicking in $6 million to help seed the project funding.
The project, most of which will begin in May, will include new seating, upgraded lighting and a new floor in time for next season. A new video board that is 25 percent larger than the current one will be finished in time for the Pac-12 season.
UA athletic director Greg Byrne said the school has already received pledges for $12.5 million toward the first phase of the project, which is eventually scheduled to hit $80 million after improvements (and possibly an enclosure) to the outside concourse at an undetermined point in the future.
The lower bowl seats will be padded and all will be blue, except for enough red seats to make an Arizona "A" in the Zona Zoo section. Upper level seats will be red and, yes, those yellow upper-level chairs will be gone.
The Davises have now pledged $10 million to UA, helping fund basketball facilities that UA coach Sean Miller said would help recruiting. Since those facilities were built -- the Richard Jefferson Gym and basketball conditioning/medical areas -- Miller has pulled in three straight Top 10 recruiting classes.
"We've seen it worked," Cole Davis said.
Miller made it clear he appreciated the help.
"I don't know where we'd be as a basketball program if they didn't come into the picture," he said.
Seating capacity will be about the same as the current 14,545, Byrne said, though fans will have new seating and eventually, new restrooms and concessions.
For players, a video room will be constructed adjacent to their locker room in the southwest corner of McKale and the players will exit that area to funnel on to the floor directly behind the south basket. That also will allow UA to fill in the southwest and southeast tunnel areas with seating.
UA's 17-year-old floor will be replaced for next season, Byrne said, though it will not look dramatically different than it curently does, with a big A in the middle and logo designating it as "Lute and Bobbi Olson Court."
Earlier today, at his weekly news conference, Miller said center Kaleb Tarczewski was questionable for Thursday's game with Southern with a "legit" ankle sprain suffered on Saturday at Michigan. He said Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and possibly Matt Korcheck would play more if Tarczewski is not available.