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Coliseum refurbishment underway


Groundbreaking took place this week for the two-year $270 million renovation of historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC President C.L. Max Nikias and Athletic Director Lynn Swann were joined by County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and City Councilman Curren Price at the event.

The renovation project is not expected to impact the Trojans’ 2018 home football season, and it is expected to be completed in time for the team’s 2019 home opener.

Plans call for an overall reduction in the Coliseum’s seating capacity, from 93,607 to about 77,500. All of the seats will be replaced, and the project will include handrails, new suites, upgraded entryways and video screens.

The Coliseum was built in 1923 and last underwent substantial renovations 20 years ago when $93 million was spent to repair damage from the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The stadium has hosted two Olympics, two Super Bowls, a World Series, a papal Mass and visits by three U.S. Presidents.

Other elements of the proposed renovation include:

— adding aisles, widening seats and increasing leg room in some sections;

— building a structure on the south side of the stadium including suites, loge boxes, club seats, a concourse and press box;

— restoration of the peristyle to resemble its original design;

— updating Wi-Fi technology;

— additional concession stands;

— replacing electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems; and

— installing new field and stadium lighting.

Following the project, one-third of the seats are expected to be reserved for donors who make “a one-time capital gift and are members of the Trojan Athletic Fund.” The other two-thirds will not require any additional donation, with USC officials saying they are “committed to providing affordable seating options” for fans.

The student and band seats will not be relocated.

Reports circulated last year that United Airlines had reached a $70 million naming-rights deal for the stadium, although university officials said at the time that no deal had been finalized.