Donation pushes UCLA’s football facility fundraising to $53 million

An eight-figure donation has pushed UCLA’s football facility fundraising $3 million past its original goal — but $12 million behind its new target.

The athletic department announced on Monday that Jim and Carol Collins had donated $10 million toward the new football facility, bumping the fundraising total to more than $53 million in cash and pledges.

The Wasserman Football Center, scheduled to break ground in fall 2015, was budgeted at $50 million when the project was announced in September 2013. After receiving its latest donation, UCLA athletic department stated that it has set a new goal of $65 million in private funding — a “phase two” that it said “will allow for first-rate finishes, furniture, branding and technology.”

The Collinses have been longtime UCLA donors, with contributions that made possible the bronze statue of John Wooden outside Pauley Pavilion, as well as the renovation of the basketball arena itself. The east plaza of Pauley Pavilion has been named the Collins Family Plaza.

“For them to give back in the manner that they have is a remarkable testament not only to their philanthropy and who they are as people, but to the importance those four special letters carry,” head coach Jim Mora said in a statement. “Because of the generosity of the Collins family and many others, the Wasserman Football Center has not only become a reality, it is poised to become one of the nation’s premier football facilities.”

Mora’s latest contract extension stipulated that if UCLA does not break ground on a new football facility by Oct. 1, 2015, he can leave the school without paying a buyout.