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Floor of UCLA's famed Pauley Pavilion to be replaced after water main break

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The wooden floor of UCLA's famed Pauley Pavilion, which recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation, will be replaced after it was flooded this week when a major water main broke, the school's athletic director said on Friday.

The large pipe under Sunset Boulevard, just north of the University of California at Los Angeles, ruptured under nearby Sunset Boulevard on Tuesday, spouting a 40-foot geyser and sending some 20 million gallons of water across the north end of campus.

The flood swamped campus athletic fields, underground parking garages and several buildings, including Pauley Pavilion, the arena built in 1965 which has become famous as home to the university's basketball teams.

Most of those facilities were back to normal, athletic director Dan Guerrero said in an Internet message to students on Friday, but Pauley Pavilion's entire wooden floor would be replaced with a new "state of the art" court.

Guerrero did not provide a cost estimate for the new floor or any of the other work required to fix flood damage. The university completed a $136 million renovation of the arena in 2012.

The water main rupture was the worst in Los Angeles since a larger and older pipeline burst in the Studio City district in September 2009, flooding nearby homes and businesses, according to the city's Department of Water and Power.

The 93-year-old steel pipe, 30 inches wide, normally carries 75,000 gallons of water per minute from a reservoir to L.A.'s Westwood neighborhood and the break underscored the aging condition of much of the city's infrastructure.

It also comes as California suffers through a record drought that has prompted state and local authorities to impose strict water conservation measures, including fines for wasting even a few gallons on excessive lawn irrigation or washing driveways.

A panel of experts concluded in 2010 that fluctuations in water pressure caused by restrictions on lawn sprinklers at the time were a factor in a rash of water main blowouts in 2009, including the big Studio City rupture. Those restrictions have since been evened out.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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