USC Village construction marks halfway


USC Drum Major Chase Wagoner led the Spirit of Troy through the crowd, victoriously waving his hand in the air with a symbolic “Fight On” to officially begin the ceremony celebrating the USC Village construction project. which reaches its mid-point on Wednesday.

President CL Max Nikias spoke about the project – the most ambitious in USC history – which will increase the size of the campus by 30 percent. The architects present and honored at the ceremony, J. Peter Devereaux and Tania L. Van Herle of architectural firm Harley Ellis Devereaux, aimed to embody a semi-Gothic style that they created when designing the Wallis Hall Annenberg.

“After more than a million man-hours of design and construction, the village of USC quickly went from capturing our imaginations to realizing our hopes for the future of this university but also for the future. ‘future of our neighborhood,’ said Nikias.

There will be 2,700 new student beds at nine residential colleges. Retail spaces will include a 30,000 square foot fitness center, Trader Joe’s, restaurants and cafes such as Starbucks, Bank of America branch, dry cleaner, beauty salon and a bicycle repair shop. Nikias also mentioned how it will change the life experience for students from fall 2017 when the village is on track to open.

“It will reinvent learning and life, allowing USC to become a fully residential university,” Nikias said. “It will reinvigorate commerce and opportunity, enabling our neighborhood to become a fully realized destination for retail and employment. “

William Marsh, Director of Capital Construction, added to the list of Village perks.

“As a former student here it will be a great experience,” said Marsh. “It’s basically an expansion of the campus. You are going to have more students who are closer to each other. On campus, all the dorms are a bit scattered which is good, but it will really create a bond for the freshman coming in, especially with their involvement with each other and their interaction with students from the upper class, all being in this close environment. “

Contrary to rumors around the school, The Village isn’t just a freshman.

“The only pure freshman building is McCarthy Honors College, which [houses] 550 first year students. The remaining buildings are all for upper class students, ”Marsh said.

Besides its proximity to the campus, The Village has many other advantages.

“Accessibility to the University is going to be very fluid for the students living here,” said Marsh. “Having the retail function is a real plus. Being able to get a room and stay at Trader Joe’s will be of great benefit to anyone who lives here. This should make their educational experience and their lives easier.

Despite the El Niño rain, builders made schedule adjustments to stay on schedule.

“To stay on track, we followed El Niño,” Marsh said. “This has been one of our biggest priorities, and we have followed it so much that when we have windows of opportunity to speed up our schedule, we have. So in essence, El Niño at this point has actually helped speed up our project. “

Capital Construction vice president and executive director Lloyd Silverstein commented on the surprisingly rapid pace with which the village has grown, having only taken 15 months so far.

“People on the other side of the building fence said that [The Village] suddenly appeared one day, ”said Silverstein. “All the constructions you see here today, including the two-story underground parking structure and miles of foundations and utilities you can’t see, were all in place in less than 15 months. It’s an incredible accomplishment of what is clearly the best team of construction workers in the city of LA ”

Curren Price Jr., Los Angeles City Councilor for District 9, applauded the construction workers and praised the improvements USC Village will make for students and the surrounding community. MP Karen Bass also explained the improvements made by The Village.

“USC was consistent in its commitment to making sure that the people who live in the area were actually able to work on this project,” Bass said. “Everyone knows about unemployment in the region, so I think this contribution is particularly important. “

The latest structural steel beam – signed by many guests, administrators, donors, elected officials and construction workers – was lifted by a crane into the air with an American flag and an evergreen tree atop. Next, the 30-foot, 12,700-pound spire was raised to the top of the clock tower of the future McCarthy Honors College, completing the village’s highest point at 145 feet. As the spire was lowered onto the clock tower, the massive crowd of spectators cheered and cheered as the Trojan Marching Band played “Fight On” and confetti cannons exploded.

The Village will open in fall 2017.

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