It was recently announced that the construction around the outdoor hardscape and landscape project in the Ogasawara Plaza outside of International Residence College will be facing delays.
Though initially the construction was scheduled to be completed by the beginning of the spring semester, there were several delays over winter break.
According to Manny Ocampo, building service supervisor for the area, the delays were primarily due to issues getting city permits.
“[The construction] has been going on for approximately two months,” Ocampo said. “It was scheduled to be completed by the end of break, but unfortunately, the city has lines that we have to go by and permits. It is my understanding that the city is holding us back.”
Ocampo said that city construction permits are done on a rolling basis — while construction might be greenlighted at the start of a project, if a city inspector arrives and disagrees with how the construction is being done, the construction company has to wait for a new green light.
“I am assuming, from previous experiences, [the delay] is because the construction workers do their work according to their own specifications, or the architect’s specifications,” Ocampo said. “But if the city inspector doesn’t agree with it, it doesn’t matter. Everything stops. It may be another couple months before it gets completed.”
Alfonso Casanova, building services manager for those areas said there were additional reasons for the delays.
“There were different things,” Casanova said. “The concrete was thicker than they thought. Shipment of different things didn’t come in on time, we needed certain parts — stuff like that.”
The email sent out by USC Housing cited issues with the “excavation, underground utilities, engineering conflicts and Los Angeles City code interpretations” to be the main causes for the delay but stated that many of the conflicts had been resolved and that construction would continue.
Casanova said he believes the delay in construction will not be an inconvenience to students.
“New bike racks are being put up, so that has been solved,” Casanova said. “I don’t think it’ll be as much of an inconvenience as it was in the starting, when there was a lot of noise and demolition. The demolition part is done and now it’s just a matter of putting everything in.”
Casanova said he believes the construction and whatever inconvenience it may cause is definitely worth it.
“We are building some fireplaces, some space to relax,” Casanova said. “We’re going to have more outdoor furniture and more amenities for the students.”
The projected plans are to expand the seating area in the square and improve the looks of the area by adding a fountain, a furnace with a chimney and possibly some fire pits, according to Ocampo.
Adanna Teemac, a junior majoring in social sciences and a resident assistant in PKS, said she was expecting delays in construction.
“I’m kind of used to delays in construction because USC says they’re going to finish a lot of construction by a certain deadline and then it doesn’t happen,” Teemac said. “So I think I kind of expected it not to be done over break. But it’s not really that big of an inconvenience. I’m excited to see what they do. It might look cool.”
Ocampo hopes that the construction will be completed by the end of the spring semester. In the meantime, those living on the west side of campus should continue parking their bicycles in the racks outside of Parkside.