Projects: Sports Facilities


Retrofit Team

OWNER/DEVELOPER: University of Southern California and USC Capital Construction
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Joint venture between Hathaway Dinwiddie and AECOM Hunt

The team replaced 93,759 seats that were 20 to 30 years old with 76,700 cardinal-red seats that are wider, have more legroom and new cupholders.
The team replaced 93,759 seats that were 20 to 30 years old with 76,700 cardinal-red seats that are wider, have more legroom and new cupholders.


  • A new 7-story, 252,000-square-foot Scholarship Club Tower provides patrons with an improved experience, including 360-degree views of Los Angeles, new suites, a press box, food and beverage amenities, and premium seating.
  • Travertine limestone from Italy was utilized for the Peristyle restoration. This process replaced the broken pieces and polishing restored the stone to its original splendor, setting off the famed blue mural under the main arch.
  • Engineers approached the Scholarship Club Tower and each floor’s unique design by using a buckling restrained brace system, meant to provide the strength of a brace but with the flexibility that buckling brings. The 7 stories contain 94 braces, averaging 15 per floor. The rectangular shape—20 inches by 20 inches at its largest width—can handle up to 500,000 pounds of force. The diagonal placements—with 42 feet being the longest in the building— were designed for replacement if ever needed.
  • Under-seat WiFi installation offered the best solution for coverage and kept equipment off the historic façade but also posed a challenge with an entire building of cast-in-place concrete built largely upon at-grade earth. The wireless and cellular infrastructure is scalable when new technology becomes available.
  • A folding storefront system—manufactured and shipped from Germany by Dorma,—is suitable for applications that may be exposed to higher wind loads.
  • Wood veneer panels (wallcoverings) were manufactured and shipped from Japan.
  • The team removed 93,759 seats that were 20 to 30 years old and replaced them with 76,700 cardinal-red seats that are wider, have more legroom and new cupholders.
  • Two massive video boards on the stadium’s east end improve the game experience by ensuring every fan has a direct sightline to a large video display.
  • Mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems were upgraded.
  • State-of-the-art ultra LED field and stadium lighting was installed.

The Retrofit

A demanding timetable to retrofit the legendary Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum within 18 months for the Fall 2019 USC Trojans football season required sophisticated construction technology, close-knit collaboration and a seasoned crew from the Hathaway Dinwiddie/AECOM Hunt partnership. An important Los Angeles icon designed by renowned architects Parkinson and Parkinson as a living memorial to soldiers of World War I, the coliseum has hosted countless events during its almost 100 years. It is the only facility to host two Olympic Games (X and XXIII); two Super Bowls (I and VII); one World Series (1959); a papal Mass; visits by three U.S. presidents, John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon and Ronald Reagan; and USC home football games since 1923. The coliseum will again host the Olympic Games in 2028.

The $315 million retrofit was carefully designed to protect the coliseum’s historical integrity while improving the fan experience. The greatest construction challenge was to hollow out a 240,000-square-foot bowl (including basement) for the new Scholarship Club Tower without disturbing the existing structure. A second challenge was to accommodate sports events during construction, ensuring public safety while keeping to the building schedule. With approximately 30 different trades per day onsite, the job poured 13,514 cubic yards of concrete; used 2,654 tons of rebar and 2,131 tons of structural steel; and exported 47,136 cubic yards of dirt.


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