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New Design for USC Catholic Center

The new design for the USC Catholic Community Center includes a European limestone church that will seat up to 350.

Plans for a new USC Catholic Community Center and church got a large boost recently with a $6 million gift from the Rick and Tina Caruso family.

The gift and a new design for the center and church were unveiled at a dinner Oct. 23 by USC President Steven B. Sample, USC Trustee Joe Boskovich, who chairs the development campaign for the center, and Father Lawrence Seyer, pastor at Our Savior Parish at USC.

Four years ago, a capital and endowment campaign was announced to build a new 25,000-square-foot Our Savior Parish Church and Catholic Center at the corner of 32nd Street and Hoover replacing the existing 10,300-square-foot USC Catholic Center on the site.

The capital and construction costs total $24 million, and more than $16 million has been raised for the project. Groundbreaking is scheduled for January 2008.

The new design was overseen by Los Angeles real estate developer Caruso’s company, Caruso Affiliated, and a liturgical design committee. The new design includes a European limestone church that will seat up to 350, an outdoor courtyard and events plaza, and USC-themed red brick Community Center buildings with a bell tower reminiscent of Mudd Hall.

“This design is in a class by itself, and so befitting USC,” Seyer said. “With this new design, the church will be the heart and soul of the center. And that is clearly what our students and community need and deserve.”

The center “will be a place for students to gather, socialize, study and serve our community,” said Clare Faulkner, campaign director for the center. “Alumni will come back to USC to be married here and have their children baptized.”

It will be a true community center, as space will be available for classroom instruction for USC and the 32nd Street School, special events and neighborhood meetings, she said.

Thanks to the changing demographics of USC students, the center has grown dramatically in popularity and programming over the past decade. Ten years ago, when the majority of USC students resided in Southern California, they often went home on weekends to worship in their local parish. Today, with more than half of USC students from other regions, states and countries, the need for a place to worship and socialize has grown.

Currently, there are approximately 10,000 Catholic students at USC, Faulkner said. “The current center is severely limited in its ability to address the needs of USC’s Catholic population, our neighbors and alumni.”

Caruso, who graduated with honors from USC in 1980, also holds a law degree from Pepperdine University. He has lectured on real estate issues at the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate and sits on the Board of Councilors of the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development.

He is president and CEO of Caruso Affiliated, which is known for its high-profile neighborhood and regional retail centers such as The Grove in Los Angeles, the Promenade at Westlake and the Commons at Calabasas.

New Design for USC Catholic Center

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