The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission would be unable to gather the $60 million required to make the promised renovations to the Coliseum, leaving USC and university officials to ponder the school’s future in the 88-year-old stadium.
In the days since the report, officials from both the commission and the university have remained confident their working relationship can continue without issue.
Kristina Raspe, associate senior vice president for real estate and asset management said the university intends to work with the commission to make the renovations and keep USC at the Coliseum.
“USC remains committed to working with the Coliseum Commission to find a way to achieve the improvements needed for the Coliseum to become a first-class stadium once again,” Raspe said in a
The Coliseum, which hosts all USC home football games, is under the authority of the commission, a nine-member committee comprised of city, county and state officials that oversee the sports complex and is funded solely by the revenue from its facilities.
The commission and USC agreed to an extendable 25-year lease in 2008, which allowed for USC to continue playing in the stadium while portioning 8 percent of ticket sales and $1.8 million to the commission annually as well as giving USC the right of first refusal if an NFL team were to propose relocation to the grounds.
The 2008 agreement also provided a list of renovations the commission committed to achieve.
Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks, a member of the Coliseum Commission and councilman for the USC area, also stressed the continued strong relationship between the university and the commission.
“Once the  lease was signed, we’ve had a very smooth relationship with the university and created a better environment,” Parks said.
Parks also noted the commission’s efforts to continue to keep the interests of all parties involved in the Coliseum — the university as well as the city, county and state — in mind and at the forefront of the commission’s decisions moving forward.
If the commission is indeed unable to meet the expectations of the renovations, under the terms of the current contract between the parties, the university could pay for and implement the renovations to the noticeably aging Coliseum on its own terms. If USC were to take over the renovation work, the contract would relieve the university from paying rent to the commission, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The university could also ask for a master lease on the Coliseum, which would transfer the responsibility for repairs and maintenance to USC while requiring the university to pay rent to either the commission or the state. Both options would allow USC to continue to play at the stadium.
Conversely, USC could elect to end its long-term residency at the Exposition Park facility and move to another location, as it threatened to do during tenuous negotiations with the commission in 2007.
The commission is expected to have a $302,000 operating loss for the fiscal year ending June 30, but the commission’s books would be stable for at least the next 12 months, according to the Los Angeles Times.
A new $6-million electronic scoreboard to be unveiled during the 2011 season was recently announced as part of the planned renovations.
Parks said the improvement to the scoreboard was chosen by the commission to help modernize the Coliseum’s fan experience.