University Club moves its location

Stoops Hall, currently the home of the Graduate Education Library, will be the new home of the University Club beginning in spring 2012, the university decided earlier this month.

The University Club is a campus club exclusively for USC faculty and staff, who can choose to become members by applying and paying membership dues. The Club, currently located in a building in the southeast corner of campus, near Pardee Way, is a restaurant for member professors and campus staff.

Stoops Hall is located near the intersection of Trousdale Parkway and 34th Street, west of the School of Social Work.

The decision to move the Club came from the Office of the Provost. Having it in an architecturally historic building was a primary reason cited by staff at the Club.

“[Stoops Hall] is so much more representative of the direction that the university is headed in, in terms of architecture and prestige, and it better represents the history of the university,” said Ed Kasky, program director of the University Club.

Stoops Hall, built in 1923, first served as a branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. It then became part of USC, and has housed the Graduate Education Library and the East Asian Library in 1999.

Stoops Hall is currently being used as additional space for the School of Policy, Planning, and Development. Its current occupants will be moved to the University Gateway building north of campus.

As a former library, Stoops Hall will have to be refitted before the club can move in.

“Stoops will have to be outfitted with a kitchen, and facilities to manage banquets and catering. We’re also making it [American with Disabilities Act] compliant. It’s going to be a serious renovation,” said Kristen Todd, membership and member programs coordinator for the University Club.

Though the interior of the building will have to be significantly changed, little will change on the exterior so as to preserve the building’s historical appearance.

“There are many beautiful components of the original building that [will] still remain and those will be kept in the renovated building,” said Joe Back, associate senior vice president of Campus Development and Facilities Management, in an email.

Club members are also excited about the move to the new building.

“[Stoops Hall] is like Bovard, Doheny and Mudd Hall — it’s in the age and grace of those buildings. It provides a sense of continuity from generation to generation,” said Regina Nordahl, associate dean of the School of Policy, Planning, and Development and University Club member.

Kasky hopes the move will make the club more visible and attract more faculty and staff to become members, which is a goal it constantly strives toward.

The current location will be demolished; details on the replacement structure have not been released, Back said.

A banquet hall and outdoor patio will also be added to Stoops Hall.

“We’re also celebrating our 50th anniversary, so [the move] has come in conjunction with that,” Todd said. “In the fall … we’re looking to do a special dinner or event, kind of a farewell to the old space and the 50 years that were spent here.”

The site of the current single-story building, opened in 1960, could be used more efficiently, according to Kasky.

“[The current structure] being a single-level building, which covers 10,000 square feet, makes it very valuable real estate for the university. So we knew that eventually something multi-story was going to have to come here,” Kasky said.

Other changes to the University Club are planned besides the move. Executive Chef Blake Clevenger recently joined the staff, and the Club will be going through a “brand rehaul,” Todd said.

“The space is going to have a lot more of a collegial club feel, as has been seen in other university clubs throughout the country,” he said.

Funding for the renovation of Stoops Hall will come jointly from the University Club and the university, according to Kasky. Construction will start April 18, and the renovation is planned to be completed by Feb. 2, 2012.