New athletic center breaks ground today

After years of discussion, the university has finally begun construction for the new John McKay Center, which will replace the Intramural Field and provide extra space for coaches and student athletes.

Cleared · The site of the new McKay Athletic Center, formerly the Intramural Field. The site’s groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Wednesday at 11 a.m. The building is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2012 football season. - Jennifer Schultz | Daily Trojan

Groundbreaking is set to take place Jan. 12 at 11 a.m. on the Intramural Field. The groundbreaking ceremony will include remarks made by President C. L. Max Nikias, Athletic Director Pat Haden and USC Trustee Ronald Tutor.

The new center, named after former USC and Tampa Bay football coach John McKay, began site clearing Nov. 17, finishing Jan. 8. The 110,000-square-foot building, announced last October to be a supplement to Heritage Hall, will include coaches’ offices, meeting rooms, an outdoor patio, a student-athlete lounge and a 32,000-square-foot weight room. Construction is set to officially begin on Jan. 31 and will continue for 18 months.

Although the heavy rain in Los Angeles during December and January affected site clearing and demolition of the field, Haden said he does not expect the start and end dates of the project to be impacted.

Joe Back, associate senior vice president for campus development and the administrator overseeing the project, said the overall plan for construction will begin with an excavation for the basement followed by construction of the basement and the two aboveground floors.

“The entire building and site are intended to be constructed as one project, without phasing,” Back said.

Because the new center will be built in place of the Intramural Field, intramural sports will share McAlister Field with other sports until a new one is built. Other fields, such as Cromwell and Brian Kennedy, will also be shared.

In addition, the Music Practice and Instructional Center, which has already been vacated, will be demolished to make room for a new intramural field between the new John McKay Center and the Loker Track Stadium.

Back acknowledged that there would be minor consequences because of the construction.

Delays and inconveniences will include a closed sidewalk on the east side of McClintock Avenue, near the site, from early February through the end of April, as well as some rescheduling for those sports sharing the McAlister Field until a new intramural field is built.

Although the center will be utilized for all 21 sports teams, it will be the main hub for the football team.

“The new building should be ready to open for football season 2012,” Back said.

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