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FOR COMMENT


To the University Community

Over the summer, an ad hoc committee of the Board met with Steven Murray and Marie Witt of the Office of Business Services regarding plans for the future relocation of the Faculty Club to facilities within the Inn at Penn, now under construction in the 3600 block of Walnut Street. The outcome of this consultative process was a set of plans which were reviewed and accepted by that committee and brought to the Board at a special meeting in mid August. The Board voted to accept the recommendation to move forward with the plan as presented. The Board members discussed the architectural plans with the membership at the October 6 meeting. While many issues
remain to be resolved with questions related to governance, finances, and terms of agreement, we believe the move is in the best interests of the Faculty Club, and that it is important to have an informed membership on this issue.

Elsa Ramsden, President, Faculty Club Board of Governors

 

The Faculty Club in the Inn at Penn: The Concept


Background and Planning

The Faculty Club currently provides a series of functions for the University, its departments, faculty and staff. These include:

  • The Hourglass Restaurant, a moderately priced, 73-seat restaurant with table service that is open daily for lunch and Wednesdays for dinner during the year.
  • The Cafeteria, a luncheon buffet available to all members at the fixed price of $6.25 per meal. It is open Monday to Friday year-round and accommodates up to 200 users per day.
  • A conference center with a Club Room in the basement, Alumni Hall on the second floor, and seven private dining rooms on the third floor.
  • An informal meeting place for faculty and staff, including a bar/ grill area seating 38 and a lounge space, both located on the first floor of Skinner Hall. It also has a small art gallery with rotating exhibitions. It provides evening food services for Hillel, and rents about 1,500 square feet on the third floor to the Dynamics of Organization program.

Club Membership is currently about 18% of eligible faculty and 4% of eligible staff.

The University has been providing the Faculty Club with space on a rent-free basis under the terms of a 1959 agreement. In addition, the University has been covering the costs of operating the building (about $300,000 per year), and covering Faculty Club operating deficits averaging $350,000 per year.

Feedback from long-range planning discussions and recent surveys indicated that members were most concerned with retaining an environment that fosters collegial conversation, an informal lunch time buffet that enabled interaction between colleagues, an upscale dining room suitable for hosting guests, and a distinct identity.


In the Inn at Penn: Interior Design

The space planned for the Club has been designed with direct input and collaboration from an ad hoc committee of the Board of Governors. Final interior design features and other operational issues will be discussed over the coming months with the ad hoc committee. Preliminary renderings show the general atmosphere envisioned for the Club space. These renderings can be seen on the web at http://www.upenn.edu/bus-svcs/clubplans.html

Entry to the Club space would be just off the second floor lobby area and adjacent to the Inn's living room*. A reception desk and additional space for a sofa, other soft seating and area to meet and gather would be provided in the lounge. This space would be roughly the same size as the lounge area immediately in front of the Hourglass restaurant in Skinner Hall.

The lounge area and corridor between the buffet and formal dining rooms would provide ample wall and display space for the Club art exhibitions.

Entry to the buffet dining room would be off the Club lounge at the west end of the Inn's living room. Entry to the main dining room would be through the Club lounge at the west end of Club's buffet dining room. Bar service to the buffet and main dining room will be provided by the Inn. Beverages may also be served in the Club lounge area using a small bar in the Inn living room.

The Inn will also operate a restaurant/bar on the first floor of the Walnut Street side of the complex.

 

Identification

The entry to the Club would be through the Walnut Street entrance. Members would enter the Inn lobby and go directly to an elevator to the second floor or ascend the grand stair case. Signage marking the entry to the Club would be prominent upon arrival.


Food Service Management

The company hired to operate the Inn at Penn will provide food and beverage service and maintenance and upkeep functions for the space designated for the Club. The Inn operator will be hired by Penn on a management contract. The operator will be paid a fee for services and be paid based on key performance milestones to include both financial and customer service requirements. Therefore, all revenues (other than membership dues) and expenses related to provision of meals and beverages associated with the Club would be borne by the Inn.


Meeting and Conference Rooms

The Inn at Penn will provide a large ballroom that will be subdividable into four smaller rooms as well as three smaller meeting rooms and a board room. Club members wishing to reserve meeting rooms could do so either through the Club Coordinator or directly through the Inn. University rates will be established and extended to Club members for room rentals.


Hours of Operation

The Club lounge area would generally be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the Dining Room area available with coffee set- up each weekday morning. Lunch would be provided Monday through Friday and the traditional Wednesday night dinners would be continued.

Special functions and events such as pre-game brunches would also be scheduled. During non-standard hours and breakfast, Club space would be available for use by the Inn as scheduled by the Club Coordinator. Breakfast would be served daily by the Inn in the space designated for the buffet. Club members would still have access to the main dining room and lounge area for morning coffee and conversation.


Next Steps

Now that the basic plans have been approved by the Faculty Club Board of Governors and shared with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, the ad hoc committee will resume meetings with Business Services to finalize details such as club governance, pricing structure, coordination of club programming and related issues.

Please forward your comments and suggestions via e-mail to Dr. Elsa Ramsden or Marie Witt.

--Steven D. Murray, Vice President, Business Services


* The Inn at Penn will have a living room area on the second floor that is designed to be a beautiful room with a fireplace, wood paneling, highback and overstuffed chairs. It will also have a small bar. While an integral part of the Inn, it is also designed to be a place for the Penn community to meet guests and colleagues. Its adjacency to the space designated for the Faculty Club permits yet another area for club members to have informal conversation.


Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, October 21, 1997, Volume 44, No. 9