Culver City Observer -

By Fred Altieri
Sports Reporter 

Rams, Trojans Look Forward to More Improvements

 

August 2, 2018



The rejuvenation at Exposition Park continues in preparation for the upcoming football season.

This year will be the third of four consecutive years the USC Trojans will be sharing the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with the Los Angeles Rams. The latest renovation on the iconic stadium began last year. Much-needed upgrades are the order of the day for the next two years.

This will also be the final year the landmark will be called the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Beginning in 2019 it will be known as the United Airlines Memorial Coliseum. The naming rights will cost the airline company $69 million for 16 years of stadium-branding. Certainly the added income will help offset the building’s budgetary requirements.

Among his duties as the Coliseum’s General Manager, Joe Furin is the liaison overseeing the construction project for the University of Southern California. Furin makes sure that the building’s interests are covered as well as the critical issues that his office has to engage the USC Athletic Department or the Rams upon.

“This is a major project in and of itself. Within it, it’s obviously taking 18 months. There are things that are happening before the 2018 football season and things that won’t happen until the 2019 football season,” said Furin.

“The main project will still be under construction. For 2018 a portion of the stadium that will be closed off and inaccessible to the public. Construction will happen Monday through Friday. We will pause to host a game on the weekend, then construction will start again the following Monday.”

The department on the USC campus that oversees capital projects is called Capital Construction Design (CCD). They are basically running the project. The construction team in place is a joint venture: Hathaway Dinwiddie / AECOM-Hunt.

There has been plenty of construction at Exposition Park the past several years. The Banc of California Stadium, east and adjacent to the Coliseum, recently completed its finishing touches on the previous site of the L.A. Sports Arena. Lucas Museum of Narrative Art just broke ground earlier this year where Parking Lots 1, 2 and 3 used to be, west of the Coliseum.

The overall project is to be completed for the start of the 2019 football season. Furin said all of the smaller benchmarks have been met, some sooner than planned. Currently everything is tracking well for the project to be completed on time.

New grass was installed weeks ago, allowing time to take hold for the Rams first preseason game against the Oakland Raiders on Saturday, Aug.18. The field will get a further test one week later as the Rams host the Houston Texans.

UNLV visits the Trojans on Saturday, Sept.1, for their season opener on the new turf.

A portion of the stadium will be closed to the fans but the teams will not be affected: not the playing surface, not the locker rooms, not the behind the scenes elements. The fans will have to work around the construction zone, which includes shutting down some concession stands and restrooms. There are plans to minimize the disruptions and inconveniences.

“The University signed a long-term lease. It ended up being a 98-year lease. The USC football team is not going anywhere in the near future,” said Furin.

“One: the Coliseum is a civic treasure and the University is fully committed to that. Two: it’s the house for their football team. So this is an ongoing process to make sure the stadium meets modern needs.”

 

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