The University of Southern California announced Wednesday that, as part of a major expansion of its presence in Washington, DC, it opened a USC Capital campus in the city’s Dupont Circle neighborhood.
The 60,000-square-foot building, for which USC paid $49.4 million, will host “high-level conversations” among thought leaders and serve as a “hub for researchers and policy experts,” officials said in a news release.
“Washington, DC, is the natural place for us to establish a thriving center. It is a nexus for the arts, public policy organizations, research agencies, and foundations,” USC President Carol Folt said in a statement.
He added that the university, which operates numerous community programs in Los Angeles, plans to do the same in DC. The campus also plans to work with local high schools and community colleges.
USC already has a number of students continuing their studies in the nation’s capital, but the new campus will expand opportunities for both students and faculty. Officials said there would be new undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts, sciences, government and journalism.
Mayor Muriel Browser Washington, DC, predicted the new campus would be a “catalyst” to boost development in the far north of DC after a drop in office activity due to COVID-19.
University officials said the building was designed to LEED Gold environmental standards, which include a focus on energy efficiency and emissions minimization, and features an open-air rooftop terrace with views of the skyline. The building will include study areas, conference rooms and a USC bookstore.
The university’s marching band will travel to Washington next month for a grand opening ceremony, which will include a speech from the mayor.
USC joins several universities that reinforce their presence in the country’s capital. He Washington Post reported that Johns Hopkins University recently purchased and is renovating a 400,000-square-foot building, once home to the Newseum, for its DC campus, due to open in the fall. The University of California also has a DC flagship near Scott Circle.