HomeCity NewsSan Marino Man Oversees USC Village Construction

San Marino Man Oversees USC Village Construction

Willy Marsh Photo by USC/Gus Ruelas
Willy Marsh
Photo by USC/Gus Ruelas

USC Village, the largest construction project ever to take place at the University of Southern California, is being led by a San Marino resident – Willy Marsh.

Marsh, the director of construction, said the project was a little daunting at first because it was like building a small city. The new USC Village will include student housing as well as a grocery store, retail shops and sit-down restaurants. When the final numbers are in, there will be: six buildings, 15 acres, 1.2 million square feet, 2,700 beds and $700 million.

“The numbers can get a little scary,” Marsh said. “If you break it down, it gets a little more realistic.”

The project began three years ago when Marsh brought in the architect, general contractor and a team of nine people to begin work. As with any project, there have been a few major challenges to overcome, and Marsh said he is expecting more before the project is complete.

The first was in making sure all permits were obtained. Many other construction projects were started around the same time; Marsh said they were fortunate enough to be on the front end of the permit applications within the city.

Another challenge is in the materials being used on the project. Much of the university was constructed in traditional handset brick, but USC Village will be done in brick precast panels to help save time. It’s an innovative installation method, but it hasn’t been done before at the university, Marsh said.

The coming of El Niño also presented a challenge. It actually helped the development team get ahead of schedule, but Marsh said he’s still concerned about the rains for the future.

Marsh said the construction project is very personal as a USC graduate and someone who has been working at the university for 18 years.

“It’s a tremendous reward,” he said. “I’m so grateful and fortunate.”

The USC Village is now 50 percent complete, he said. They hit the halfway mark when the clock tower was set during a topping out ceremony held Wednesday, Jan. 27. The rest of the construction is expected to be complete by August 2017, when the university wants to move people in to the residential buildings.

“I’m only as good as the people around me,” he said, stating a huge thank you to all who have been helping to keep the project on budget and on schedule.

Marsh is a lifelong San Marino resident who graduated from San Marino High School in 1988. He then went on to graduate from USC in 1994. He currently lives with his wife Katie and children Molly (14), Will (13) and Maggie (11). His parents, Murray and Mikie Marsh, still reside in San Marino as well.


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