by Garry Paskwietz
The renovation plans for the Coliseum have been announced after the university board of trustees approved the plans and submitted them to the Coliseum Commission. Once approved by the Commission, the full project launch will be announced in spring of 2016.
Here’s our initial thoughts after reviewing the plans:
* Very understated. A lot of stadium renovations around the country can remove some of the charm from the original building but it looks like a good job was done maintaining much of what makes the Coliseum special.
* First and foremost on that list is the Peristyle. It is great to see a clean look once again returned to the Peristyle, without being blocked by temporary suites or signage boards. The Peristyle is supposed to be restored to more closely reflect the original stadium design.
* The basics: new seats, handrails, larger aisles, increased leg room. All good.
* The main addition will come on the south side with the structure that will house the suites, loge boxes and new press box. This is where the money will come from to largely pay for the total upgrades, and those who pay will get the perks. This will also be a critical element to judging how the renovation is viewed because this addition will take up a lot of space on the south side.
* I’m not a huge fan of the fact that the “sun deck” will stay but that is a minor issue.
Here are some other details on the plans:
* Will reduce seating capacity to 77,500. I’m not a big fan of reducing so much from the current capacity.
* Cost of $270 million, with that being privately funded through naming and sponsorship, capital gifts and non-USC events.
* Construction will begin after the 2017 season and will be finished for the 2019 season. USC will be able to play in the Coliseum in 2018.
* Student/band seats will not be moved.
* Updated wi-fi, sound system and 2 new video boards.