The Voices Behind the Close-Hipp Construction Team

For many USC students who take classes in Close-Hipp, the construction team is a constant in their daily lives.

It’s nearly impossible to learn about their character by hearing them jackhammering away at the floor above you. But behind the loud machinery and disruptive shouting in the hallways, is a group of people who work tirelessly to make Close-Hipp what it is today.

Jack Harding, a construction worker on the fourth floor, spoke up about the team’s efforts to provide students with a safe and comfortable learning environment.

“We try to accommodate students as best as possible. Have a class on the third floor? My boys and I won’t take a sledgehammer to the walls of the classroom next door. Need to use the bathroom? You can take the elevator up to the sixth floor, take a right down the hall, first door on the left is the men’s room. Those are pretty much the only toilets left in the building,” Harding said.

Harding says his experience working on Close-Hipp has been tough to manage at times, but there are always bright points throughout the day.

“The basement, second floor, fourth floor, and fifth floor are closed for maintenance, and it can be hard to keep up with all the yellow tape and signage,” Harding said. “We didn’t really need to close the basement, but Jimmy thought it would be a great place to rehearse for his new rock opera. It’s going really well so far.”

Cedric Arnold, a maintenance supervisor, shared some of his favorite experiences from working with the fourth floor’s team.

“Sometimes, around five or so when the night classes are starting, I’ll take a break from setting off all that dynamite we’ve got up on the fifth floor and head down to see Jimmy perform. Makes me forget all about my work.”

Marco Arulo, a bricklayer on the second floor, has been working on Close-Hipp since 2016. He says the thing that keeps him going is interactions he has with students.

“Sometimes I’ll be on my way up to the fifth floor with some basic equipment: maybe an auger, a rock drill or two, and of course, my trusty vibrating hopper,” Arulo shouted. “I’ll see some students on their way up to the sixth floor every now and then. They always look a bit confused and irritated until I tell them their class will be moved to a more convenient building like 300 Main or something, and then they roll their eyes at me. They always manage to brighten my day.”