Edmunds Union, nicknamed the Coop, opened in 1937 and was named after the fifth President of Pomona College, Charles Keyser Edmunds. The original building contained the Ballroom, offices and the Fireplace Lounge. Building additions were made in 1950 and 1970, adding the Coop Store, Coop Fountain and Courtyard restaurant, Recreation Room, the Smudge Pot, and the Career Center. The original Center, except for the ballroom, was demolished in the summer of 1997 to make room for the construction of the new Smith Campus Center.
The nickname Coop, which was used synonymously with Edmunds Union, was either derived from the first ASPC run store as a cooperative, or from an area in one of the original College buildings, Holmes Hall, which was used to sell books and sundry supplies. This area was called the little coop where Oliver Duvall, 1895, "let down the cupboard door, which formed sort of a counter, from which he sold textbooks and stationery, and especially those direful blue books for tests and examinations." ¹
The Smith Campus Center was completed during the summer of 1999 as a combination of renovation and new construction. It was designed to serve as the center of campus life at Pomona. It is built in three levels, one below ground and two above. It contains the Edmunds Ballroom, renovated from the original construction, meeting rooms, lounges, two food service facilities, recreation facilities, Bank of America Versateller (ATM), the Coop Store, the 200 seat Rose Hills Theater, and the student mail center. It also houses the ASPC/Campus Center Staff, the Asian American Resource Center, the Career Development Office, the Volunteer Center, and the Teaching Learning Center. The food services include the Sagehen Cafè, wait-person served restaurant and the student-run snack bar, the Coop Fountain. This most beautiful of structures was designed by the architect Robert A. M. Stern of New York.
In 2006, a much-anticipated completion/renovation of the Campus Center was undertaken to complete the original construction project and to improve the existing operation. The lower level portion of the project included construction of a new social space called the Doms Lounge, a make-over to the Campus Center Social Room, offices for ASPC and Career Development staff and interview rooms. On the ground level, the Kinsmith Coop Fountain was remodeled and expanded to include recreation equipment; a campus living room was constructed from the first floor meeting rooms and the student mail center was relocated to the living room. The former mailroom was changed to an exhibit gallery for student, faculty, or traveling shows. On the second level, the Writing Center was added as were two new meeting rooms. In recognition of the construction of the Lincoln and Edmunds Buildings, the north patio was opened, expanded and furnished, to accommodate the increased foot-traffic from the north. The South Lawn was opened to the Courtyard providing increased program space and a more welcoming entrance from the south.
¹ Bracket, Frank P., Granite and Sagebrush, The Ward Ritchie Press, Los Angeles, 1944.