As the USC football team looks to cement another title after its Rose Bowl win, the stadium that houses football games — the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum — will receive an upgrade.
The $270-million, USC-funded plan was announced in 2015 and gained approval from the Coliseum Commission. Currently awaiting city approval, the project is set to break ground after the start of the 2017 football season and aims for completion before the first home game of the 2019 season.
The main goal of the renovation is to provide the football team with a first-class facility and a home field advantage, create long-term revenue streams and to preserve the historical integrity of the Coliseum.
“Overall, people love the Coliseum because of the history of it,” said Dan Stimmler, the Chief Operating Officer of the Coliseum. “I think if you can keep the history and bring up the experience you have on a gameday, everyone will benefit. The Coliseum has an amazing history and now will have the facilities to match that.”
According to Stimmler, the stadium will receive wider seats. Additional enhancements include installing handrails, adding aisles and increasing legroom in many sections. Plans also include the construction of new concession stands while improving the conditions of existing ones. Stadium fans will also see mechanical improvements, such as upgrading the new field and stadium lighting and replacing the electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems.
Overall, the Coliseum’s main refurbishments will boast digital enhancements. Stimmler said the renovation will update the Wi-Fi technology throughout the venue and add two large screens to the east end of the stadium. However, the overall design of the Coliseum will seek to mirror the original exterior plans.
“[The renovation] will modernize the stadium to compete for events,” Stimmler said. “This will put us in a competitive situation with what’s out there so we’ll have more events that the community can attend.”
Additionally, the renovations at the Coliseum will help gear up for the Los Angeles 2024 Olympic bid, Stimmler said.
“[The renovation] will go a long way to help the L.A. Olympics bid,” Stimmler said. “A renovated stadium that the Olympics doesn’t have to pay for that’s privately funded and will be done well in advance of the Olympics… is a big part of their bid for 2024, and [the construction of the Coliseum is] a huge help.”
In addition to these numerous improvements, the plans look to install the Scholarship Club Tower, a new structure on the south side of the Coliseum that houses various suites and lounges. Seating within the Scholarship Club Tower requires an annual Trojan Athletic Fund membership and a one-time capital gift to USC Athletics.
Topping the Scholarship Club Tower will be the Otis Booth Press Box, named in recognition of a $7.5 million gift from the Otis Booth Foundation.
“The Booth Foundation has been a steadfast supporter to USC Athletics in recent years and its continued generosity speaks to the strength of its confidence in us,” President C. L. Max Nikias told USC Athletics. “We are grateful to the foundation, and its choice of naming the new press box to honor Franklin Otis Booth Jr. is nothing less than a perfect match, given the family’s strong ties to Los Angeles.”
USC has included a Coliseum Renovation Preview Center where visitors have the opportunity to journey through the Coliseum’s history, relive memorable USC football moments, visualize new amenities and conceptualize the future game day experience.
“We hope this puts the Coliseum into another realm of eventspace that people have come to expect,” said Brian Grant, director of operations at the Coliseum.