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Coliseum to open with renovations

New video board, sound system highlight improvements ahead of home opener against Ohio State.

Taylor Friedman

Issue date: 9/9/08 Section: News
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High def · The Coliseum received a slew of improvements ahead of its season opener with Ohio State on Saturday, including a new videoboard with a high definition LED display, a new sound system, a replanted field and refurbished memorial plaques.
Media Credit: Gary Fung | Daily Trojan
High def · The Coliseum received a slew of improvements ahead of its season opener with Ohio State on Saturday, including a new videoboard with a high definition LED display, a new sound system, a replanted field and refurbished memorial plaques.

When students flock to the Coliseum this Saturday, the clash of the football titans won't be the only treat in store. the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission has announced it has completed $4 million in renovations ahead of the first game of the season.

Jonathan Lee, marketing director for the Coliseum, said students can expect to see the main videoboard, located at the Coliseum peristyle, replaced with a state-of-the-art, full-color LED video display with high-definition resolution.

"There's no one in the back-town that's got better," he said.

Lee also said the videoboard, game clock and scoreboard structures were primed and repainted; the football field was overhauled and replanted; 54 memorial plaques were refurbished by hand; and a brand new sound system was added.

The West End Grille will also debut at the Coliseum and will offer sausages, hamburgers, cheeseburgers and hot dogs. More service and checkout lines have been added to speed up service.

The renovations come just months after an agreement was reached between USC and the commission in May that allows the football team to continue playing at the Coliseum for at least 25 years.

USC officials said the recently completed changes are only the first phase of a broader plan to renovate the stadium.

Kristina Raspe, USC's associate senior vice president of real estate and asset management, said USC put forth its own money outside the agreement in order to add 1,600 seats to the stadium for a total capacity of 93,607 seats. Eventually all of the seats will be replaced, she said.

Included in the lease was a promise that various full-scale upgrades would be made, including one to the Coliseum's restrooms, which was not completed on time.

Carlo Maclang, a senior majoring in kinesiology, said the Coliseum's restrooms needed improvement.

"I wasn't too crazy about the bathrooms," Maclang said. "They were run down, old. It got nasty during the games. I'd like to see a different layout or more stalls and urinals."

According to the lease, if the commission fails to make promised renovations outlined in the lease and divided by separate deadlines, USC can opt out of the agreement after two years.

Although the lease states that restroom modifications were to be completed before the first game, Lee said they will be worked on during the off-season.

It is expected that the majority of money for the projects will come from selling the Coliseum's naming rights. But as the Daily Trojan reported in August, a deal has yet to be confirmed.

In the meantime, the Coliseum is relying on its reserves to fund the modernization.

"Since the Coliseum has not made improvements for five years, there are significant funds in reserves - enough to make improvements for the first two years," Raspe said.
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posted 9/09/08 @ 12:29 PM PST

Did Lee say "PAC-10" instead of "back-town"?

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