HSC beautification project underway

The Health Sciences Campus is undergoing a $35 million beautification project that aims to create a more cohesive appearance between the University Park Campus and HSC.

The project has been divided into three phases. The first and current phase focuses on streetscape beautification, largely moving in an east-to-west direction across campus. These phases will reduce disruption within the campus to manageable sizes.

Voluntary public funds will be used to support streetscape improvements including new sidewalks and infrastructure.

“The main goal is to create a better environment and to improve the pedestrian experience on the campus and surrounding streets for faculty, staff, students, visitors to the campus and the community,” said Laurie Stone, USC executive director of land use and planning.

Larger impacts to the overall aesthetics of the campus will include two prominent campus markers on Soto Street and smaller ones on less-populated campus entrances.

Construction began in August, when infrastructure was readjusted on Alcazar and Soto streets. Power lines, water and gas lines were moved underground in order to create a seamless path for pedestrians.

Unlike the University Park Campus, HSC does not have a consistent architectural style. To stylistically connect the two campuses, there are plans for more outdoor park-like areas to be built. Widened sidewalks, decorative brick motifs and 700 trees will be added as well.

Project coordinators hope this beautification process will create uniformity within.

“The campus also currently lacks an identity; the brick banding and use of streetscape fixtures similar to the University Park Campus will help enhance the USC identity at the Health Sciences Campus,” Stone said.

Though construction is in its early phases, students are eager to see the evolution of the campus.

“I am looking forward to seeing that [final product],” said Ying Long, a graduate student studying in the pharmacy doctorate program. “We [students] would like to see the beauty of the campus. If it’s going to become more friendly, it makes the experience better.”

The City of Los Angeles owns the property near Soto Street, which is designated as a public street.

Some students are optimistic about the change the construction will bring to the campus.

“I think it will enhance the area, especially in this campus,” said Toshifumi Araki, a student majoring in occupational therapy at HSC.

Potential improvements also include relocating the handball court and building an outdoors exercise circuit route.

The streetscape phase of the HSC beautification process will begin in fall 2013, according to Stone, depending on city approvals. The university expects the project to be completed in 2015.