USC Quotes On The Planned On-Campus Arena
USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett
"As I look around, I feel like this is a historic day for all of us. I believe some of us have been waiting for an announcement of an on-campus arena for maybe 50 years.
"We are called here today to announce that we plan to begin construction of a campus events center, a new building that will be the home for our basketball and volleyball teams. This has been a goal of the university since two people very dear to me, Jess Hill and John McKay, since they were athletic directors. I would like to be able to help fulfill that dream. It's the most important project ever undertaken by the athletic department. It will be a tremendous addition to our campus. Athletically, it will bring a huge boost to our recruiting in our basketball and volleyball programs and will give us the best home-court advantage we've ever had at this university. Financially, it will help us balance our budget. Through corporate sponsors and by renting the building for outside events, we create a major new revenue stream for the athletic department. Just as important, it will change the nature of our campus. It will improve the quality of life for all our students. Besides athletic events, the new building will host concerts, plays, convocations, lectures and other cultural activities. We plan to have up to 125 events our first year. We'll be giving more details in the near future.
"The final decision has not been made but current plans call for the campus events center to be located at the southeast corner of Jefferson and Figueroa. We hope to complete it in just over two years. We plan to open it in the year 2002 for the beginning of that season's Pac-10 season. The size of the center will be 12,000 seats. HTNB, who have built many world-class arenas, will be involved in the construction of the events center. Construction should begin by summer of next year. We will hire a sports marketing firm to assist us in securing a naming-rights sponsor and other corporate sponsors. We can't give a definitive cost, but I have assured President Sample that the total cost will be under $70 million. Also of note, the athletic department will raise 100% of the funds for the campus events center."
(on whether USC could have moved to the Staples Center) "It was not a difficult decision to build our own arena. Besides, there just weren't any dates available since they have the Lakers, Clippers and Kings."
(on location options) "At this time, we are planning on building at the southeast corner of Figueroa and Jefferson. Our objective now is to raise the money. I don't foresee the location changing."
(on fundraising) "This whole press conference was designed to kick off our fundraising. We have some initial money now, but what matters is not how much we have now, but how much we will raise in the future."
USC President Dr. Steven Sample
"Is this a great day for USC or what? I'm just delighted to join athletic director Mike Garrett and Mike Jackson, our vice-president of student affairs, to announce this ambitious drive to build a campus events center which will benefit not only our Trojan athletes, but all of our 28,000 students. The campus event center is an integral part of a comprehensive plan to improve the undergraduate experience at USC. Back in 1994 our board of trustees approved a strategic plan for this university to guide us in to the next century. One of the four goals of that plan was to improve all aspects of undergraduate life. Naturally, the initial focus has been on academics. But there's more to student life than the direct academic experience and the nation's best students understand that.
"Across the country, major universities, our competitors, are increasingly investing large sums of money to provide students with state-of-the-art academic, cultural, athletic and entertainment facilities. These investments help universities recruit and retain the best and brightest from around the world and it's imperative that USC does the same. That's why I'm excited about our ten-year construction program to improve the undergraduate experience at USC.
"The campus event center will be an important part of the USC cultural and sports experience, providing a venue not only for USC's basketball and volleyball teams, but also for a wide variety of cultural and entertainment events. Students at USC will be able to cheer on their Trojans at the event center one night, then watch a Broadway musical the next night.
"The events center will also fulfill a dream which many Trojan sports fans have held dear. I'd like to thank Mike Garrett for moving this project to the front burner and working so hard to bring us to this moment. His vision and his drive have convinced all of us that the campus events center must become a reality in the near future."
USC women's basketball coach Chris Gobrecht
"How can I say what this means? I have the privilege of guardianship over one of the great legacies in the history of our sport. But no matter how impressive that legacy has been, though, it's always been very very fragile. So how can I tell you what it means to say it is no longer fragile? This center will inspire the great players we bring to this campus to become all the great things they can become and are supposed to become. It will honor their specialness and be a place to showcase their talents.
"First and foremost, this is going to be a place for Trojans to celebrate Trojans. It's very important for our community for people to come and see our athletes and feel a great deal of pride about people who are here in their midst. Far from being just another beautiful building on a campus filled with beautiful buildings, it will be a place that we can call home. A home court advantage has never existed for this program and now it will. On behalf of the Women of Troy of past, present and future, I want to say 'thank you.' This is one of the happiest days of my professional life."
USC men's basketball coach Henry Bibby
"I'm very happy that I will be the first men's basketball coach to coach in the new arena. This will place the men's basketball program at USC on the same playing field as other Pac-10 schools. Having this center will allow me to recruit higher profile student-athletes and give me the opportunity to make this school really visible and give it more credibility.
"I am happy to be a part of this building. We are going to build a great tradition here. The women and the men's basketball teams are going to bring championships to you. We need your support. We need more people like to come out to the games, not only two or three years down the road, but right now."