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Leavey 'Bubble' deflation is 4 p.m. April 4

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 3, 2000 - Tonight, all eyes will be on the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, site of the NCAA men's basketball championships.

On Tuesday, April 4, all eyes will be on a smaller air-supported dome, 2,300 miles west, when the "bubble" at Santa Clara University's Leavey Center will come down.

At precisely 4 p.m., a switch will be thrown turning off the giant fans that have kept 60,000 square feet of Teflon-coated Fiberglas aloft for 25 years. Construction began early this year on the new roof, which is to be in place in time for next fall's basketball season.

The new roof is the first phase of an estimated $15 million renovation project, creating a new Leavey Event Center. In addition to the new roof, the first phase will replace the floor and lower bleachers of the basketball court, add a new scoreboard, and build new entrances and a two-story glass wall around the entire center. The new bleachers won't change the capacity of the 5,000-seat arena. The second phase, to begin in March 2001, will build new athletic department offices and rebuild and enlarge the adjacent outdoor swimming pool.

The SCU women's basketball team's first-round NIT game on March 16th was the last intercollegiate sporting event held under the dome. The World Kendo Championship was the last event in the arena, on March 24-26.

The new roof will replace the air-supported fabric roof, which had developed dozens of leaks, and which seemed to glow in the dark when lit at night.

Eight massive 40-foot reinforced concrete cylinders are being built to support the new roof. The deflated roof will drape over a network of steel cables criss-crossing the width of the building. The lighting catwalks, cables, and a portion of the remaining fabric roof will be removed.

The Leavey Center is named after the late founder of Farmers Insurance, Thomas E. Leavey, who graduated from Santa Clara University in 1922. It is the home of the SCU Broncos men's and women's basketball and teams, and the women's volleyball teams.

The Leavey Activities Center was designed by architects Albert A. Hoover and Associates of Palo Alto, and built in 1975. The roof was built by Birdair Structures of Buffalo, N.Y. At the time of the original "inflation" of the roof, the song "Tiny Bubbles" by Don Ho was played over loudspeakers. General Contractor for the Leavey reconstruction project is Devcon Construction Inc. of Milpitas, which also built the adjacent Pat Malley Fitness and Recreation Center and is building the new John A. and Susan Sobrato Residential Learning Complex on campus.


MEDIA: Parking will be available for media in the parking garage, off the main entrance to campus, with access for television trucks north of the Malley Center. The best vantage point for photography is from the rooftop level of the parking garage. A remote switch to turn off the Leavey Center fans has been set up in Alumni Park, immediately north of the construction site. The deflation will take approximately 15 minutes. For more information, contact Barry Holtzclaw, at 408-554-5126, see or email,

NOTE: The correct name of the building whose "bubble" roof is being removed is the Leavey Center, NOT the Toso Pavilion. The new building will be called the Leavey Event Center. The athletic department offices are in temporary structures next to the Malley Center and will be located there during the construction phases. The adjacent parking lot is closed during the construction.

Barry Holtzclaw
Director of Media Relations
Santa Clara University
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