Civic San Diego Lyceum Theatre Renovation

Improving a community treasure

When the Lyceum Theater was ready for its extensive renovation, the Harris & Associates team jumped at the chance to help make the dream a reality. The team’s construction and project management skills helped to transform the 39,500-square foot lobby into an inviting space that brings the community together year-round for performances and events.

The Lyceum’s beautiful new lobbies now have raised ceilings, state of the art LED lighting, a stunning new architectural centerpiece stairwell, stylish new concession areas, a new preview stage, completely renovated bathrooms with modern wood and glass finishes throughout, and new up-to-date audio and visual systems. The project’s completion was met with much fanfare and publicity and the mayor of San Diego Kevin Faulconer and several other dignitaries attended the grand opening.

Core Elements

The scope of the Harris team’s work included managing the demolition and construction of a reconfigured stairwell and structural support, walls, raised ceilings, ADA compliant bathrooms, all electrical and mechanical components, and plumbing fixtures to bring the facility up to current building codes. Extensive attention was paid to selecting high-end finishes used in the upper and lower lobby leading to a stunning final appearance. Some functional new features were also installed: a backstage monitoring system (including sound and video), public address system and aisle lighting in the theater. In short, everything changed except the stage and seats.

Harris worked effectively with the out-of-town designer to develop innovative solutions for unforeseen conditions and added scope. This smooth process was an outgrowth of Harris’s pre-construction partnering and team building: The joint effort created a strong team that identified and resolved issues quickly and maintained momentum on the project, achieving completion within twenty eight days of the original contract duration.

In its dual management roles, Harris:

  • Conducted a pre-construction and partnering session
  • Assisted the designer and client with design issues and provided technical advice leading to practical solutions
  • Reviewed submittals to verify contract compliance and provide guidance on “best value” materials
  • Assisted in health department permitting to facilitate two added concessions areas
  • Prepared responses to requests for information (RFIs)
  • Prepared inspection reports and performed quality control meetings to ensure the design intent and contract requirements were met
  • Conducted weekly meetings and tracked critical issues
  • Reviewed and approved pay estimates and contract change orders
  • Prepared final punch lists and assisted with HVAC commissioning

Beyond the Blueprints

This renovation was originally slated for 2008 but was shelved due to funding issues. When the project was resurrected in 2014, many of the original components, such as lighting and fixtures, were no longer available or did not meet current Title 24 building code requirements. Once the demolition work got under way, it became quickly apparent that the design had not accounted for the major structural and mechanical components concealed behind the walls and ceilings.

This meant extensive redesign and scope changes, all at a substantial cost. Construction Manager Eric Jackson’s extensive involvement was critical to controlling costs, mitigating delays and ensuring the end product met the design intent and best value for the dollar.

The facility’s location itself was also a significant challenge, as it was located deep underneath the Westfield/Horton Plaza shopping center with little or no staging area for construction materials or equipment and difficult access. All of the work also had to be done while the theatre was fully operational.

“The show must go on” took on a whole new meaning for the contractor and tenant alike, who both worked closely with Harris’ construction manager, Eric Jackson, to develop an every changing barricade plan and to coordinate deliveries and outages in such a way that the theatre’s impact was minimal and the contractor was able to be productive.

Meet the Team

Eric Jackson, CCM, QCM, SMS, CHST

Eric Jackson, CCM, QCM, SMS, CHST

Sr. Construction Manager / Program + Construction Management


Civic San Diego


San Diego, CA




Construction Management