This article is part of the Daily Trojan‘s supplement issue, “If you build it, will they come?” This semester’s supplement focused on the impact of the new Ronald Tutor Campus Center and University Gateway apartment complex, both of which will open this fall.
On a Friday in April, four Daily Trojan staffers took a tour of the new Ronald Tutor Campus Center, which is scheduled to open in August. The building offers an array of venues new to USC’s campus, and administrators hope it becomes a destination for students during the week, at night and on weekends. Here’s one student’s take on the places in the campus center most likely to help reach that goal.
The Ballroom is enormous. Our tour guide boasted that it can seat 1,200 students, and administrators have touted its flexibility. It can be used for concerts, plays, lectures, parties and formal dinners. It can also be divided into smaller sections for conferences and meetings. Student groups will be able to reserve this room. I imagine it will end up being a cross between Town and Gown and Bovard Auditorium.
For students, Traditions is clearly the premiere attraction in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center. It’s built like a sports bar, with booths facing a long bar and flat screen televisions lining the walls. The bar will also serve food and unlike in the past, the new Traditions will be open to anyone, even those under 21. Like at The Lab, students who are drinking will be required to show I.D. Given Traddies’ new hours — open until at least 2 a.m. on weekends — I could easily see it becoming a go-to hangout for students wanting to grab a bite or a drink, watch the game or just relax.
Tommy’s Place is connected to Traditions. It’s is a performance/hangout venue about twice the size of Ground Zero Café, and will be a great place for concerts, comedy sketches, readings, etc. It also has a huge screen that can broadcast live television, and we’re told Tommy’s will transform into a theater to watch away football games. There will also be pool tables. Combined with Traditions, Tommy’s seems like a great place for students to gather, but like everything else in the campus center I would have thought it’d be bigger, considering how many students will likely be using it.
The Trojan Family Room is the cornerstone of the campus center, the first thing you see when you enter the main doors. It seems, however, to be targeted least toward current students. It’s a large, circular room with fancy furniture and flashy memorabilia, but few televisions. The nearby concierge booth also struck me as strange. The Trojan Family Room seems like a way to sell USC to alumni and prospective students, who must walk by this room to reach the admissions center on the second floor. But I doubt many current students will hang out here.
Moreton Fig Restaurant
Moreton Fig Restaurant is the new Upstairs Commons. If you weren’t around for Upstairs Commons, you missed out: It was a sprawling upscale restaurant where students could use dining dollars. Moreton Fig is in the same mold, but in a more intimate setting. Tight booths and wide windows dot the room; it has access to a patio seating area and it has a bar. But, like the food court, it seems much too small for USC’s huge student body and Trojan Family. We didn’t get a peek at the menu, but it likely won’t be cheap.
The Food Court
The food court is a wide open space next to a large outdoor courtyard. It will house Wahoo’s Fish Taco, Carl’s Jr., a small version of California Pizza Kitchen, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and one other restaurant to be announced soon. There’s also a marketplace similar to the one in The Lot. The food court is surprisingly small and I found myself wondering if it could accommodate the lunch rush. But an array of flat screen televisions means it could be a great place to grab a bite and watch the game. Take-out windows that are accessible from the courtyard also mean students will be able to order food after the food court is closed.