The two-year $270 million renovation project to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum reached its halfway point Wednesday. USC Athletics and the Los Angeles Rams hosted a media event to announce the changes, both physically and logistically, coming to the Coliseum for the 2018 football season.
“From our standpoint, it’s pretty much on target for the cost,” USC athletic director Lynn Swann said. “It’s a construction project [the cost] always seems to change, but we are well within the money we have raised to get this complete and done on time”
Over the past several months more than 1,200 workers have been working tirelessly — day and night, rain or shine — to prepare the Coliseum to host Trojan and Rams’ football. The project funded privately by USC is on time and on budget. Moreover, Swann announced that there were no lost time accidents.
For the 2018 season, fans will enjoy several new amenities that will enhance their Coliseum experience. Those seated on the south side of the stadium will enjoy the more than 10,000 new seats located under the press box area. When the overhaul is completed in 2019, each of the approximately 77,500 seats in the Coliseum will be replaced. The new seats feature three more inches of legroom and added handrails. Fans will also be excited to hear that the Coliseum will have more reliable Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the seating area.
Two sets of terraces have been added to the East side of the Coliseum. During USC games, the platform on the southeast side of the stadium will host the Trojan Athletic Fund. Its counterpart on the northeast side will provide a location for USC students and organizations to gather and watch the football games in a social, congregational environment. For Rams games, these areas will be sold to groups.
No football viewing experience would be complete without stadium food. The traditional nachos, hot dogs and popcorn aren’t going anywhere, but the Coliseum will be adding more options for 2018. This includes an LA hot chicken sandwich and a second location for the popular Cathy’s Cookies.
“We are very excited about what’s going to happen [at the Coliseum],” Swann said. “The 2018 season is going to be fairly exciting and will be a season of change for a lot of fans when they come into the Coliseum. Everybody will be going through some kind of an adjustment … At the end of the day [fans] will be extraordinarily excited.”
While these changes are certainly exciting for fans, they do not come without some minor inconveniences. The concourse behind the temporary press box section will be closed to spectators. This makes it important for fans to enter the stadium from the designated gate on their ticket to avoid having to take a less efficient route to their section. However, once the temporary press boxes are removed, the now-off limits concourse will provide a location full of vendors and a view of the field reminiscent to that of the concourse at Dodger Stadium — with a view of the field just 40 rows above field level.
Use of the metro rail will be incredibly important this year due to the construction of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art more than 1,000 parking spots on the west side of the stadium have been lost. For USC games, there will be various parking options around the campus, some of which are open to the public while others are for permit holders. However, fans are strongly encouraged to take the metro.
The Trojans will start their 2018 season on Sept. 1st by welcoming UNLV to the Coliseum.