USC opens a campus in Washington, DC, to expand its presence in the nation’s capital

The University of Southern California announced Wednesday that as part of a huge expansion of its presence in Washington, DC, it has 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 scholars and policy experts,” officials said in a press release.

“Washington, DC, is the natural place for us to establish a thriving hub. It’s a nexus between the arts, public policy organizations, research agencies, and foundations,” said the president of the USC, Carol Folt, in a statement.

She added that the university, which runs many 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 education in the nation’s capital, but the new campus will expand opportunities for students and faculty. Officials said there would be new undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts, sciences, government and journalism.

Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Browser predicted the new campus would be “catalytic” in spurring development in DC’s north end following a drop in office activity due to COVID-19.

University officials said the building was designed to LEED Gold environmental standards, which emphasize energy efficiency and reduced emissions, and features an outdoor rooftop terrace with views of the horizon. The building will include study areas, lecture halls and a USC Bookstore.

The university marching band will travel to Washington next month for a grand opening ceremony, which is expected to include a speech from the mayor.

USC joins a number of universities strengthening their presence in the nation’s capital. The Washington Post reported that Johns Hopkins University recently purchased and renovated a 400,000 square foot building, which once housed the Newseum, for its DC campus, which will open in the fall. The University of California also has a DC flagship, near Scott Circle.

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