The University hosted a press tour of the USC Village on Wednesday afternoon led by William Marsh, director of construction.
The USC Village is currently in phase one of construction, which is on schedule to be completed in Fall 2017. At the end of the first phase, six buildings will be completed, and the University will then have the option of whether or not it wants to embark on phase two, which would lead to the construction of three additional buildings.
Before embarking on the tour, Marsh explained some of the unique challenges presented by such a massive undertaking. One of these challenges involved Building Nine — the largest building in the Village and the one that will host the vendors — and how having to drill space underground could have potentially been a catastrophe.
“One of the challenges was that the shoring was so close to Hoover, and if you know about Hoover, there’s a 61-inch water main that feeds basically all of Los Angeles and runs all the way down the Long Beach, and we’re digging down and driving shoring and tie-backs underneath. So I was saying, ‘Please make sure we don’t puncture the 60-inch water main, or we’re going to shut down Los Angeles.’”
Marsh said that one of the mistakes UCLA had made in its recent renovations was something that they took note of as well during the building process.
“The water breakage over [at]UCLA happened about a month and a half before we started that excavation,” Marsh said. “So I was like, ‘USC doesn’t want to be on the news for taking out water mains.’”
Despite the unique challenges that the Village project has presented, Marsh said that strong management and injury prevention protocol has allowed the Village to move ahead of schedule.
“Obviously we’ve been having this heat the last two months, so making sure water is available, making sure people are taking breaks, really paying a lot of attention to the crews [is critical]. And the testament is really what you’re seeing,” he said. “We’ve actually gained 17 days on Building Six and all of that is good management, keeping people healthy and having a good executed plan.”
Even though most of the old University Village was torn down during construction, some of it is actually being reused by the University. Marsh went into detail about how the old fire station is being reused by the School of Cinematic Arts.
“We’re actually removing the first third of the fire station,” he said. “There’s actually wheels on it right now, and in a few weekends, in the middle of the night we’re going to wheel it over to its new home.”
The buildings that are currently the furthest along in construction are Building Four, a residential area for students; Building Six, the fitness center and Building Nine; the main building. When showing the press Building Four, the building that is the furthest along, Marsh went in greater detail about the plans USC Hospitality had to keep the Village occupied and vibrant throughout the calendar year.
“USC Hospitality wants to keep [the Village] 80 percent full even in the off-seasons and the summers because people are making transitions and it will be reduce rated to try to keep people active in the Village all year round,” Marsh said.
Marsh finished the tour by showing the press a mock up of one of the dorms, saying that the Village dorms especially were holding true with University President C. L. Max Nikias’ initial vision for the village.
“Max’s vision was for this to be a village in Italy. So all of the color schemes are based off of it being in a village in Italy.”
Miles Woods, a sophomore majoring in creative writing, noted that it seemed like the University was making major progress.
“I moved here onto campus like a year ago and the Village seemed pretty nonexistent when I moved in. Like, it was a big open space, but now there’s actual development. So it’s coming along pretty well, they’ve done a decent amount of work over the summer, and I didn’t know about it until now.”