Situated between Town & Gown and Popovich Hall, the University Club has been a steady presence in its mid-century modern facility for the last 50 years. But in early 2012, the club will be moving to a new home in Stoops Hall, the historic brick structure at the northeast corner of Trousdale Parkway and West 34th Street.
Renovation for the new University Club, which will be called the University Club at Stoops Hall, is scheduled to begin in April and will conclude next February.
After the move, the club’s current structure will be replaced with a multi-story academic building, but details for that facility have not yet been announced.
“Talk about moving the club has been going on for as long as I can remember, back 15 years, and it’s finally happening,” said Ed Kasky, program director of the University Club. “The single most important thing for us to consider was proximity to campus. Right now we are sort of in a corner, but the move will position us to be closer to the center of campus.”
As one of the last single-story structures on campus, the University Club has been at its present location for more than half a century. And it shows.
“As soon as you walk in the door, you know that it’s an A. Quincy Jones project,” said Kasky, referring to the distinct modernist style of the 10,500-square-foot steel and glass complex. (As well as being a nationally recognized architect, Jones was a professor at the USC School of Architecture, and later served as dean from 1975 to 1978.)
“It is a definite eye-catcher, but all the architecture on campus has moved forward, and I think it’s time for us to do that as well.”
The club’s origins date to 1928 when the Men’s Faculty Club was established, which quickly was followed by the creation of a Women’s Faculty Club. In the late 1940s, the groups merged to become The Faculty Club, and a clubhouse – comprised of a pool table and some old furniture – was designated on the fourth floor of the Student Union.
On Dec. 6, 1960, the club’s current facility opened. It is the sole members-only club and restaurant on campus reserved for faculty, postdocs, and senior staff and has more than 1,800 members.
For the renovation project, USC has selected Perkins + Will, a Los Angeles-based firm that has experience renovating historic buildings.
Built in 1923, Stoops Hall opened as the university branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. The building was purchased and formally incorporated into the USC campus in 1965, and has since served as the Graduate Education Library, the East Asian Library, and work space for the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development and the USC School of Pharmacy.
“We don’t want to detract from the building’s historic significance,” Kasky said. “We want to respect and maintain the original architecture and original materials present at Stoops Hall.”
To that end, construction will be limited to the interior of Stoops Hall, which will be renovated “to accommodate dining, banquet and lounge space,” according to Joe Back, associate senior vice president of campus development and facilities management. “The exterior of the existing building will only be cleaned and repaired, the intent being to alter the exterior as little as possible.”
An outdoor dining patio will be built, as well as a new addition to house the kitchen facilities to serve the club’s dining and banquet areas.
While the new building will be slightly smaller than the current location, space will be used more efficiently and will accommodate approximately the same number of patrons as the existing club, Back said. The partial second floor, which could be considered a mezzanine, will be used for banquet space and offices, he added.
Although the club has undergone a number of renovations over the years, this particular move signifies a complete update, not only to the facility, but the University Club as a whole.
“When we close here, we’re opening up as a completely new club – a new logo, new branding, new domain name, new menu, new menu cover … everything will be different. That’s the vision,” Kasky said.
That vision already has been set in motion with the hiring of chef Blake Clevenger, the newest University Club employee, who brings with him 25 years of experience in the culinary world.
And even more changes can be expected in the coming months as the club continues to improve its services for the Trojan Family.
“In line with the provost’s and president’s goal of becoming more like a residential college, the University Club is striving to become a place that feels like a home away from home for faculty and staff,” said Kristen Todd, the club’s membership and member programs coordinator. “We want to create an environment where conversations spark naturally and people forge relationships, and we think this new location will do just that.”
Now through March 31, the University Club has opened its doors to all USC faculty and staff in honor of its 50th anniversary. This is a limited-time opportunity for the Trojan Family to experience members-only events, including the Meet-4-Lunch series and private concerts. For more information, call (213) 740-2030 or visit universityclub.usc.edu