The exterior of McKale Center.


The Arizona Board of Regents today will likely approve the Wildcats' request to hire an architect to plan an $80 million McKale Center renovation.

The board's Business and Finance Committee approved the plan - in addition to capital projects on all three state campuses - at a meeting Wednesday at the UA Student Union Memorial Center.

The Wildcats would use private gifts and athletic revenue to pay off bonds backed by the regents.

Bob Smith, the UA vice president of business affairs, said Wednesday the Wildcats had about $16 million in gifts for the project, which as planned would begin in June 2014 and end in summer 2017.

The committee also discussed the $18.5 million South Stadium Parking Structure, which will provide 900 spaces for dorm residents and athletic event attendees.

During the meeting, the board's chair Anne Mariucci said the board will have "a much more granular discussion" about McKale Center "when they actually get to the project implementation."

When reached in Albuquerque, where he traveled with coach Rich Rodriguez for a New Mexico Bowl news conference, UA athletic director Greg Byrne declined comment until after today's meeting.

On StarNet: See photos of McKale Center through the years at