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Jan 4, 2014 11:28 PM by Sam Salzwedel

McKale Center renovation making progress

TUCSON - Fundraising for a McKale Center renovation is making major progress toward its goal.

An anonymous donor just made a multi-million dollar challenge. The donor will match gifts up to $8 million. If the community can raise that total of $16 million, the $30 million goal will be very close.

University of Arizona president, Ann Weaver Hart, praised the renovation in a news conference after the Wildcats basketball game Saturday.

"Athletics plays a huge part in the building of our community," she said. "Not just our community in Tucson, not just in Southern Arizona, but around the world. And it has a huge impact on our students."

Head basketball coach Sean Miller said the renovation can help the team on the court.

"Just by investing in it, it almost takes on a look of a brand new arena," Miller said, "as if we're at a new day, and an energy follows."

The entire project is eventually expected to cost $80 million.

Most of the athletic department's funds come from ticket sales, sponsorships, broadcast revenues and gifts.

Work should start in May. Fans got to see a new video board Thursday, which is just the beginning of the project.

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