USC unveils $270 million LA Memorial Coliseum renovation plan

- USC unveiled a $270 million renovation plan for Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Thursday, in hopes of having the stadium improvements ready for the Trojans' 2019 home opener -- without impacting the 2018 playing
schedule.

The proposal, which was presented to the Coliseum Commission, which manages the facility, would replace every seat, install handrails, add suites, upgrade entryways and install two large video screens on the east end of the stadium. The project will also reduce the seating capacity from 93,607 to about 77,500.

"The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a treasure not just for Los Angeles but for the state of California, and its renovation is long overdue,'' USC President C.L. Max Nikias said. "Our Board of Trustees has enthusiastically endorsed our plans, and we are pleased to now present them to the Coliseum Commission.

"We believe these renovations will strengthen the Coliseum's reputation as one of the world's great venues and also will enhance our world-class athletic programs that utilize the Coliseum,'' he said.

According to the university, funding for the renovation, which would begin after the 2017 USC football season, will come entirely from USC Athletics capital gifts, sponsorship revenue, non-USC events at the stadium and "donor-naming'' opportunities. No student fees or university funds will be needed, or local, state or federal funding, university officials said.

One-third of the seats are expected to be reserved for donors who make "a one-time capital gift and are members of the Trojan Athletic Fund.'' The other two-thirds will not require any additional donation, with USC officials
saying they are "committed to providing affordable seating options'' for fans. The student and band seats will not be relocated.

"We are committed to completing this process in the most fan-friendly manner possible, recognizing the loyalty of our Trojan Athletic Fund members and longtime season ticket holders and providing a wide variety of seating
options,'' USC Athletic Director Pat Haden said.

The Coliseum was built in 1923 and last underwent substantial renovations 20 years ago when $93 million was spent to repair damages from the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The stadium has hosted two Olympics, two Super
Bowls, a World Series, a papal Mass and visits by three U.S. presidents.

Other elements of the proposed renovation include:

  • adding aisles, widening seats and increasing leg room in some sections;
  • building a structure on the south side of the stadium including suites, loge boxes, club seats, a concourse and press box;
  • restoration of the peristyle to resemble its original design;
  • updating Wi-Fi technology;
  • additional concession stands;
  • replacing electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems; and
  • installing new field and stadium lighting.

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