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Lewis, Popovich Halls Open for Business

At Popovich Hall, a café opens onto a landscaped courtyard.

Photo by Irene Fertik

The opening of Lewis and Popovich halls in time for fall classes capped one of the busiest summer construction periods ever at USC, with more than 100 projects undertaken.

In fact, construction activity approached the level of last summer, when 150 individual projects, worth more than $70 million, made 1998 the most active construction period since the Norman Topping era of the 1960s.

In some ways, summer 1999 was even more challenging than the year before, said Jon Soffa, Facilities Management Services’ director of construction management and interim university architect. During the 13-week window between the end of the spring and start of the fall semesters, the normally sedate campus was buzzing with a record number of commercial film shoots, new student orientations, summer camps and community outreach programs.

“There was not much elbow room on campus,” Soffa said. “We had to be a lot smarter and more logistically aware. Executing these projects during the short summer period demonstrated the effectiveness of our project management staff, who largely sacrificed their summer vacations to make these projects successful.”

THE $19 MILLION Popovich Hall, largest of the projects at 55,000 square feet, houses the MBA programs for the Marshall School of Business. It is distinguished by a brick-and-concrete tower that extends above its third-story tile roof, a sun-lit three-story lobby, and a café – available to everyone on campus – that opens onto a landscaped courtyard.

Inside, Popovich boasts features that make the Marshall program the most technologically advanced business school in the country:

• Eight tiered case-study rooms with data and electrical connections to let students use laptops at their seats. Instructors can access a student’s computer screen and project the image to the front of the classroom.

• Thirteen “experiential learning classrooms” that can accommodate groups of five to 10 students practicing business presentations. Each room has a video camera and lighting; presentations can be taped and transmitted to the case study rooms.

• More than 1,100 data connections throughout and 15 miles of fiber optic and cable wiring.

“Popovich Hall will help our graduates enter the business world prepared to lead corporations into the 21st century and beyond,” said Dean Randolph W. Westerfield.

Lewis Hall, which houses the academic and administrative programs of the School of Policy, Planning, and Development, was dedicated on Aug. 27. The $10.6 million, three-story building has two large lecture halls with data and electrical connections at each seat, and three studio rooms especially designed for small groups and collaborative learning.

Popovich and Lewis, on the southeast side of campus, flank what will be the dramatic new entrance to USC on Exposition Boulevard. When the entrance is finished later this fall, visitors to campus will proceed down the newly named USC Pardee Way, past arched brick loggias framed by trees and fountains, toward the first university building, Widney Alumni House.

Other major projects:

• Off-campus student housing renovations. The 285,000-square-foot Troy Hall complex and Building G of Cardinal Gardens Apartments received new finishes, furniture, and Internet connections. At Troy Hall, new fire alarm and sprinkler systems were installed and a new meeting room was constructed. The work at Cardinal Gardens represents the last phase of a three-year project to renovate the entire complex. Combined budget: $21 million.

• Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts. Workers gutted the former Performing Arts Annex and raised the roof to create space for a high-tech digital imaging, sound production and recording facility, classroom and support spaces. The project is expected to be finished this winter. Total budget: $5 million.

• Annenberg School for Communication. The second of this multi-phase project im proved signage, classroom information technology and building circulation patterns. New interior finishes, furniture and equipment were also provided. Phase 2 budget: $2.5 million.

• Gwynn Wilson Student Union. The first and second floors were strengthened to improve the building’s resistance to earthquakes. Meanwhile, the first-floor offices of the Career Planning and Placement Center were completely renovated to create a new reception area, information lounge and administrative offices. Combined total budget: $4.9 million.

• Safety and Systems Management Building. The first floor was remodeled to accommodate new music practice rooms, classrooms and administrative space, to replace a smaller, antiquated facility in the former Performing Arts Annex. The second floor was renovated to house a joint program between the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering. Total budget: $2.5 million.

• Founders Park. Walkways, drainage, plantings, lighting and benches were upgraded. Total budget: $350,000.

• Montgomery Ross Fisher Building. The School of Social Work’s ground-floor library book-stack area was consolidated to allow construction of collaborative workrooms and other areas for student teaching and research.

• Classroom Renovations. Twenty-three general-purpose classrooms at the Von KleinSmid Center and Waite Phillips Hall were renovated as part of the university’s multi-phase classroom upgrade project.

On the Health Sciences Campus, a portion of the basement of the Clinical Science Center Building was remodeled to create the Surgery Technical Skills Center, a student-training lab in operating skills and techniques. A pedestrian access ramp was constructed to link the main campus plaza to the upper plaza, and two lecture halls in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Center received teaching technology, furniture and finish upgrades.

Lewis, Popovich Halls Open for Business

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