The $300-million renovation and restoration of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has reached the halfway point of construction. To mark the milestone, the final beam of the stadium’s new seven-story Scholarship Tower was hoisted into place on August 15.
Led by a joint-venture between Hathaway Dinwiddie and AECOM, the renovation of the 93,607-seat Coliseum has been designed to both protect its landmark status and classic look, while also improving fan experience. With the University of Southern California (USC) leading the way, the JV was hired to improve and restore the structure's signature Peristyle; add all new seats with increased legroom; new box suites and lounges; a new press box; upgraded concourses; new concession stands; state-of-the-art audio, video, and Wi-Fi technology; and replace the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems to meet current standards.
Jeff Moe, USC’s on-site manager of construction, told me that one of the most interesting project challenge’s is building in tight quarters, in close proximity to existing structural and historic elements that cannot be disturbed or damaged.
“The limited access makes it a challenge for men and equipment to perform the work safely and efficiently,” said Moe. “We overcame this by conducting extensive site investigations prior to starting work, and coordinating closely with the trade subcontractors, design team, and coliseum staff.”
Moe says that a surprise during construction came when the team encountered an existing 10’ x 6’ underground concrete encased duct bank that had to be removed in order to proceed with excavation.
Construction on the 95-year-old stadium is scheduled to complete in fall 2019. Until the job is complete, work will only be interrupted when the USC Trojans and LA Rams football teams are in town for home games during the 2018-19 season.
“We’ll keep working through football season,” said Moe, in a news release. “We’ll actually be moving even faster, possibly bringing on more crews, toward the end of the year. We just won’t be operating on game days.”
Located in Los Angeles' Exposition Park adjacent to USC campus, the stadium, modeled after the original Roman Colosseum, has been home to Trojans football since its opening in 1923. Since then it has hosted countless historic events and is the only facility in the world to play host to two Olympiads, two Super Bowls, one World Series, a Papal Mass and visits by three U.S. Presidents. The structure will again host the Olympic Games in 2028.
One of the key aspects of the renovation project will be the preservation of the Coliseum's iconic Peristyle. This undertaking will include removing the large video boards that were installed for the 1984 Olympic Games. The boards will be removed in order to restore the famed column and archway structure to its original glory. Damaged travertine limestone tiles will be replaced or fixed, the entire structure cleaned, and the restoration of the decorative mural underneath the center arch will also be undertaken.
Replacing the old video boards will be two state-of-the-art, high definition display boards incorporated for the fans enjoyment into the northeast and southeast seating sections, so as to maintain the look of the Peristyle as it was originally intended.
Overall, 60 percent of Coliseum renovation workers reside in L.A. County. And as of August 2018, the project has exported 46,000 cu-yds of dirt; poured 12,514 cu-yds of concrete; removed 11,958 seats; used 2,131 tons of structural steel; and deployed 700 trucks to export demo material.
Utah-based SME Steel in the steel contractor and the Los Angeles office of Conco is the concrete contractor.
USC is overseeing the renovation; the facility is jointly owned by the state, the county and the city of Los Angeles, but managed and operated by USC under a 98-year lease that extends through 2111.