SBD/August 22, 2012/Facilities

USC Unveils $70M John McKay Center Featuring Academic Area, New Weight Rooms

The building's video panel in the atrium measures 33 feet wide and 15 feet high
USC yesterday formally dedicated the $70M John McKay Center, "a 110,000-square-foot structure that features a floor dedicated to academic support, a basement with a gargantuan weight room, state-of-the-art athletic training facilities and plenty of tributes to former star athletes and five-star donors,” according to Gary Klein of the L.A. TIMES. At its core, the building “is about attracting new talent.” The McKay Center gives USC “a one-stop recruiting shop.” An interactive wall-sized “video board next to an indoor turf field provides recruits in any of the school's 21 sports a complete look at every uniform and piece of Nike gear they will receive as a USC athlete.” The building's “showcase piece is a video panel in the atrium that measures 33 feet wide and 15 feet high, where recruits and their families -- and potential donors -- can be wowed with larger-than-life presentations.” USC yesterday also announced a $300M athletics fundraising drive and in January “will break ground on Heritage Hall renovations and an updated aquatics center” (L.A. TIMES, 8/22).

RECRUITING TOOL: ESPN L.A.’s Pedro Moura noted it is a “decade-in-the-making athletic facility that puts the school ahead of many of its competitors.” USC Senior Associate AD Mark Jackson “supervised the construction of the center since January 2011 in coordination with Advent, a Tennessee-based company that designs facilities for universities across the country.” Jackson said that the main entrance is “bold and it’s brash.” Jackson: “But we think it’s appropriate.” Above the front door to the building “reads what can only be described as a bold proclamation: ‘Through this portal enter the world's greatest athletes.’” The interior of the structure “expresses similar sentiments written differently.” Phrases such as, "We own L.A." and “We run the Rose Bowl" are written throughout the facility. Moura noted there are “computer labs galore, replete with both Macs and PC's” and the new “all-sport weight room is twice as big as the old weight room.” Every football player “gets an iPad with his locker (ESPNLA.com, 8/21). FOXSPORTSWEST.com’s Rahshaun Haylock noted the “entire main floor is dedicated to academics by way of the Mark Stevens Academic Center.” It features “computer labs, two 40-person classrooms, and also a work area where group work can be done.” Jackson, along with AD Pat Haden, “went around to ‘15-20’ Major League Baseball, NFL, and collegiate facilities to get an idea of what direction they needed to go in the construction of the McKay Center" (FOXSPORTSWEST.com, 8/21). Head football coach Lane Kiffin said of the facility, “It’s huge. We’ve passed probably everybody.” He added, “We’ve already seen the impact of it (in recruiting).” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who was the “driving force behind getting it built” during his coaching stint at USC, “has a patio dedicated to him” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 8/22).
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