Heritage Hall reopens to public after construction

The newly renovated Heritage Hall opened to the public Monday after the completion of its $35 million renovation project.

The construction took 16 months to finish and was part of the $300 million Heritage Initiative. The initiative, along with the remodeling of Heritage Hall and the Fred Uytengsu Aquatic Center, provides scholarships for student-athletes, academic support and programming funds.

The hall, which was originally built in 1971, reopened to the public for visitors, guests and students to visit between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The new structure, originally 48,000 square foot, now boasts 80,000 square feet of athletic facilities and collaborative spaces. The additions include an interactive two-story museum, a women’s athlete lounge, indoor golf driving range and a broadcast studio connected to the  Pac-12 Networks and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Though the exterior of the building maintained the original design, the inside pays tribute to past and present members of Trojan athletics. The Haden Hall of Champions, named for Athletic Director Pat Haden, consists of a two-story atrium.

The new additions, such as the bronze statue of the drum major flanked by Heisman Trophies, reminds visitors of the great history within USC athletics.

“We think we created a ‘wow factor’ upon entry,” said USC Athletics Chief Innovation Officer Mark Jackson in an interview with Fox Sports.

The bottom floor of the building is home to five athletic                                         teams — women’s crew, women’s golf, women’s lacrosse, women’s soccer and men’s golf. These spaces are connected to the 110,000 square foot John McKay Center via a direct corridor.

Skylar Dunn, a junior majoring in business administration and an employee of USC athletics, noted that the renovation will help USC in recruiting players apart from just football.

“I think it will heavily impact recruiting in sports other than football, which is great,” Dunn said. “People are going to come and play football for ‘SC because of the name, and [the John Mckay Center] already impacts football enough. So Heritage Hall will help other sports who don’t have space in JMC or Galen Center.”

Another addition is the                            one-of-a- kind lounge space for the Women of Troy student-athletes, specifically. It is the first and only space of its kind and offers student-athletes a place to relax.

Natasha Strickland, a member of the women’s cross-country team, said she was excited to use the hall’s new facilities.

“Being recruited for the USC track team while the McKay Center was being built in time for my freshman year — I thought nothing could top it,” Strickland said. “So once I heard that Heritage Hall was being rebuilt, I couldn’t wait.”

Strickland specifically mentioned the new women’s lounge as the hall’s main draw for her.

“Heritage Hall not only provides locker rooms for some of the athletics teams, but I am also very excited to make use of the women’s lounge,” she said. “After working out or studying in the computer lab in McKay, I will definitely go there after to hang out. It even has a room with five lounge chairs just for napping.”

The new hall also holds additions for athlete training. Two golf simulators allow users to choose from 550 golf courses from around the world for practice.

For women’s rowing, the team now has access to a rowing ergometer room complete with 35 ergometer machines that will allow training and preparation.

“I didn’t know there was an outdoors area and I think it really adds a little ‘something-something’ to campus,” said Holly Hepper, a freshman majoring in industrial and systems engineering.

Divesh Sachdev, a sophomore majoring in biology, was highly impressed upon visiting the hall for the first time .

“Heritage Hall brings out all of USC’s history and tradition of excellence when it comes to athletics,  and this newly renovated building just takes things to a whole other level.”