Anyone who would contend that USC is the same university it was 15 years ago has either not recently visited the continuously expanding campus, has neglected to meet any graduates from that time period or is, bluntly put, a UCLA Bruin of the worst kind.
The $1.1 billion renovation of the University Village into the USC Village will continue to help the university change and grow for the better. Since 1999, USC has soared 18 spots in rankings to No. 23 and is ranked 10th in the U.S. News & World Report list of “Up-and-Coming Universities.” The university looks like it has no intention of slowing its growth with the construction of the USC Village underway at the site of the old UV.
The USC Village will mark a new era in USC’s history. There might be costs to the progress, but this project is in line with the pace of the ever-changing Los Angeles, a city that has been very central to USC’s development and culture.
For students, the next few years call for a few adjustments to life without the convenience of Superior Grocers and the option of grabbing frozen yogurt at 21 Choices. Though students will lose access to some amenities during the years of construction, the finished product promises a set of new resources that will cater to students’ needs.
With more than two million square feet of student housing, retail and academic landscape, the Village will give the university the college-town feel that this little corner of the city has previously lacked. Granted, one of the things that makes USC great is its integration with urban Los Angeles.
Some have viewed the renovations as being at the expense of the university’s neighbors, raising the rent, property tax and cost of living in their homes. The university said, however, that it has taken the community into consideration during these changes. According to USC officials, the project will create 12,000 jobs, a third of which are temporary construction jobs The other 8,000 will be permanent upon its opening. USC has also guaranteed employment priority to people of the surrounding neighborhood and granted $20 million to aid with affordable housing in the area.
Los Angeles is the next frontier. The university isn’t destroying a piece of the city by erecting its own village, but rather continuing the trend that the rest of the city has already begun. It seems only fitting that USC would grow, develop and change as well. As brutal as it is, if USC did not capitalize on the UV to match the developing trend of the rest of Los Angeles, another organization would have.
USC is becoming better equipped than ever to not only exist in this future, but also shape it.