California State University, Long Beach
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Pyramid Floor Gets Makeover

Published: November 1, 2012

Sometimes, change is good.

That’s the mantra Associate Athletic Director Billy Brady took when the CSULB Athletic Department was mulling over what to do with the Walter Pyramid floor late last year.

“We just wanted to update it, give it a different look and create some buzz around our program utilizing any different vehicle we have,” said Brady. “We’re always trying to create awareness for our program and hopefully that awareness leads to interest and that interest leads to somebody buying something about Long Beach State, whether it’s a shirt or a ticket to an event.”

The 18-story Pyramid, designed by Don Gibbs and built by the Nielson Construction Co. of San Diego, officially opened on Nov. 30, 1994. It has seen a few changes since then, most notably in March 2005 when it was officially renamed the Walter Pyramid in honor of former College of Business Dean Mike Walter and his wife, Arline, who donated $2.1 million.

It’s also had a few changes to the design of the main floor, but nothing quite like its most recent one, which aims to give it a more “beachy” feel. The new floor prominently features palm trees framing “The Beach” logo at midcourt. The key at both ends of the floor as well as the lettering on the baseline and sidelines match the color of the California palm trees and the color scheme that depicts beaches, which are not intended to feature school colors.

“We thought, ‘What signifies a beach-type atmosphere?’ and we came up with sand and palm trees,” said Brady, noting there were roughly 50 design iterations of what the floor could look like before those were whittled down. “At that point, we got the coaches involved, they provided their input and away we went. It was took about 10 months, but that counted when we first decided we needed to do something. It was much more active in the last 90 days before it was actually done, but it was a long process.”

Brady said it was pretty much an in-house project because the department has “three people who are really good in Photoshop.”

“It was all done in-house,” said Brady, “but I did send it to a few agency friends of mine just to get their thoughts on what we were trying to do and they were on board and understood it. The beachy aspect is our theme. They really liked what I showed them.”

Pyramid floor

Brady also said the time for the change was just right because the floor was due to undergo its scheduled maintenance.

“There’s only so many shavings (sandings) this floor has and we thought this was going to be the last time it could be sanded,” he added, “but we think we’ll get one more so the design change was done to kind of change things up. We think it adds more to our brand.”

Brady was thrilled with the initial response, noting that the floor redesign was the second story on Yahoo the day after astronaut Neil Armstrong died and the New York Daily News did an online story.

“I got e-mails from people telling me we were on Yahoo so we got some good play early,” said Brady. “We’re confident that throughout the fall and once we have some televised events in the building it will create a little more interest in what we do.”

As for having any second thoughts about the final design, Brady says he has none whatsoever.

“I gotta be honest though,” he joked, “I was a little scared when the paint was going down. We couldn’t have palm trees with green leaves because that would have been too distracting. We went with one base color with a sandy, beach-themed color and I think people could get attached to that. A lot of people said it was a cool-looking court. A line on Yahoo said it was ‘subtle, but distinctive’ and I think that pretty much sums it up.”