West Campus’ main building served until 1990 as the Clayton branch of Famous-Barr department store.
The building opened as Famous-Barr on October 8, 1948. In 1990, declining sales led Famous-Barr’s parent company, the May Department Stores company, to move the store from Clayton to the St. Louis Galleria. At that time, the university acquired the building and lot through a combination sale and charitable donation.
In addition to the department store building, the university acquired approximately 900 surface and garage parking spaces, the Bally Total Fitness health club, and the Firestone Tire Center. The street level of the department store building continued to be used as retail space.
The first university office to occupy the building was the libraries, which took over the basement level of the department store in 1993. Today, the basement level houses the West Campus Library and Conference Center and the University Archives. In 1995, staff from a variety of offices on the Danforth and Medical Campuses moved into the second, third and fourth floors. The upper floors of the building house technology and a variety of administrative offices for the university.
While not primarily a classroom building, some academic activities do take place at West Campus. The Center for the Application of Information Technology (CAIT) has been a leader in IT training and the forum for IT Executive interaction in St. Louis for over 25 years. CAIT classes are held daily at its facilities at 5 North Jackson Avenue at Forsyth Boulevard on West Campus.