Students have reacted favorably to plans to refurbish and add to McDonald’s Swim Stadium, which has not been renovated since it was built for the 1984 Olympics.
Athletic Director Pat Haden announced the redesign on Feb. 17 and shortly after, the Athletic Department released preliminary renderings of the project.
Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2013 and finish by April 2014. The renovation will cost between $15 million and $18 million, said Ron Orr, senior associate athletic director. At this time, the university has not chosen a contractor for development.
The renovation will include new locker rooms for the water polo, swimming and diving teams. There will also be a contemporary sundeck overlooking the pools and covered stands on both sides of the stadium.
Tim Tessalone, sports information director, said the renovations to the stadium will better reflect the accomplishments and skills of USC athletics.
“We have so many high-caliber Olympic-level swimmers and water polo players who compete there now,” Tessalone said. “A facility on par with their abilities, [one] that helps them reach their goal. is critical.”
Deidre Yiu, a freshman majoring in business administration, said that the redesign is long overdue.
“I never go swimming at USC because the facilities are so run-down,” Yiu said. “I’ll definitely go more after they remodel [the stadium].”
Kristi Hupka, a freshman majoring in industrial and systems engineering, said the addition of a sundeck will make the aquatic center more inviting.
“The stadium needs to be a less intimidating place to hang out,” Hupka said. “I feel like I can never go in there because of swim team or water polo practices. I’m excited that they’re planning to make the facilities more accessible to non-athletes.”
Ashley Barlow, a freshman majoring in fine arts, said that redesigning the stadium will convince more students to support athletic teams.
“I live in Fluor Tower, right next to [the stadium], but I never go to the games because the bleachers are old and dirty,” Barlow said. “If there were nicer bleachers and places for students to hang out, I would have gone to a lot more of the water polo games and I’m sure that my friends would have too.”
The decision to redesign the stadium was spurred in part by a gift to the athletic department from an undisclosed donor. The gift was specifically allocated to fund the renovation of the aquatics center, although additional funds are being raised to complete it.