What's new at CSULB: 10 things to look for in Fall 2021

Published August 17, 2021

Much has changed since the last time we were all at CSULB, way back in early 2020.  Eighteen months later, the campus has everything from new buildings to new art and several upgrades. 

But before heading back for the fall semester, don’t forget to fill out the COVID-19 screening questionnaire each day and complete the Vaccination Certification on The Beach’s Single Sign-On site. Masks and/or face coverings are required at all times, and social distancing should be maintained. Also, check out the campus map to find hand sanitizing locations and where to purchase personal protective equipment.

Here are 10 new things to look for on campus: 

1. Alumna paints new mural in the USU

Next time you stop by the University Student Union, look out for the new mural created by Bianca Austria ‘21. 

The gold and black mural includes some quintessential Long Beach imagery, such as the Queen Mary, palm trees, the Pyramid and an airplane (probably going to land at Long Beach Airport!). Austria said that although she’s not from Long Beach, CSULB welcomed her with open arms and now the city feels like home. 

“I quickly fell in love with the warm and bubbling energy of this place,” she said. “On top of learning how to hone my skills and build my artistic career, I have made long-lasting friendships with classmates, professors, and co-workers, and I wanted this mural to encapsulate the joy behind that experience. By designing this mural, I hope to extend that same warmth to old and new faces coming back home to the Beach!”

2. Palm trees by the Walter Pyramid

We’re not called “The Beach” for nothing — the Walter Pyramid has 40 new palm trees. The Camphor trees that surrounded the Pyramid were struggling for years due to disease and poor soil conditions, so they were replaced with new palms.  

Check out the 36 new Syagrus romanzoffana (Queen Palms), and four new Phoenix dactylifera (Date Palms) swaying in the wind around the perimeter of the Pyramid. 

3. New residential hall is a home away from home

With its warm, homey touches, sustainable features and study-oriented spaces, the Parkside North Residence Hall provides students with a modern new place to call home. The four-story building provides an additional 472 beds as well as pod study rooms, kitchens, multiple levels of community space and outdoor courtyard space.

The building will save 1 million gallons of water each year, equivalent to two Olympic-sized pools and increase energy through its solar panels from 1.2 kilowatt hours to 1.3 kilowatt hours.  

It is the CSU system’s first net-zero energy Living Building Challenge Petal Certified residential building. 

4. Horn Center renovation

The Horn Center is getting an upgrade, which is set to be completed later this summer. The project includes a renovation of the undergraduate advising learning assistance center, computer lab and the university art museum. 

The computer lab, undergraduate advising and learning assistance centers will be converted into 10 classrooms and two lecture halls, as well as an expansion of the all-gender restrooms. 

Outside, the south courtyard will have new landscaping and additional seating. The north courtyard will be converted into a sculpture garden. 

5. Sneak peek of Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum's ongoing renovation

The Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum is undergoing a major renovation that will double its footprint – so don’t be surprised when you see the in-progress upgrades when returning to campus. 

The updated museum, set to reopen in early 2022, will include three exhibition galleries, a reading and archives room, a works-on-paper room that doubles as a student study space, an education lab, expanded collection storage, updated workspaces and a new outdoor sculpture garden. 

The museum, which is the first in the CSU System to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, will continue to offer free admission, as well as evening and weekend hours. 

"This facility presents fresh opportunities for Beach faculty, staff and students, and it also promises to be an even more accessible campus space for the Long Beach community,” CSULB President Jane Close Conoley said in a Grunion Gazette column.  

6. Los Cerritos and Los Alamitos residence halls renovated

The Los Cerritos and Los Alamitos residence halls got a face-lift! The laundry rooms in both buildings were moved to a central area, and there is a new shared kitchen for students. The Los Alamitos building also features new offices in the old rec room, while the café will be renovated, and the storage room will be converted into a staff breakroom.

Both buildings also got new paint, flooring and furniture inside, with bright touches of orange and yellow accents painted on the outside.

New roofs and energy-efficient windows, as well as upgrades to the fire alarm systems, HVAC and electrical systems have been added to the exterior of both buildings.

7. Grand opening of the University Library's Innovation Space

The University Library’s new Innovation Space (I-Space) will open with the rest of the library on Aug. 23. The interdisciplinary facility, located on the library’s ground floor, features advanced machines and technology including 3D printers, laser cutters, digital scanners, and specialized software, that unify and expand upon the related labs currently located in various departments across campus. 

The goal of the I-Space is to provide services that increase innovation and enhance CSULB students’ learning experience and employability. All academic disciplines will benefit from having access to high-end tools that are used in many industries, and by entrepreneurs and professionals, to develop new ideas. 

8. Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden set to reopen

The Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden (EBMJG) is set to reopen in October, and there are some cool new features to check out when the time comes.  

There are new lanterns lining the garden’s front courtyard, and a new water feature in the pond. Traditionally, the shishi-odoshi, or deer scarer, is used to scare animals away from crops. In modern contexts, it’s used as an aesthetic piece to add sound and motion to the garden. 

The garden will also have changes to admissions and programming, including a mobile app, expanded hours, student study hours and health and wellness classes, said new EBMJG Director Mary Sramek. 

“I cannot wait to share the elegance and serenity of the garden with others,” Sramek said. “I am most excited to see how many new people we can get to come visit the garden and allow people who have never experienced its beauty to enjoy their time within our gates.” 

9. Alumni Center makes progress toward completion

Walking through campus, you might also see construction of the Anna W. Ngai Alumni Center, which is scheduled to be completed in 2022. CSULB recently held a traditional topping off ceremony, where the last piece of the frame was added to the project.  

When finished, the Anna W. Ngai Alumni Center will serve as a point of connection for the Beach’s 330,000 alumni, said President Jane Close Conoley.  

“It is more than a building,” Conoley said. “It represents what all great universities have— a place where alums come to make connections and learn what’s going on at the Beach. And there’s a lot going on at the Beach.” 

10. New Hillside Administration and Commons buildings

The Administration and Commons Building Project will include a two-story commons building and a single-story office building to provide office space and a place for students to study and relax. The two buildings will share a courtyard and approximately 400 solar panels, which will be installed on the roofs of both buildings and the central courtyard canopy. 

The commons building will include five one- and two-bedroom apartments for faculty and staff, as well as an outdoor terrace and accessible ramps and sidewalks between the new and existing buildings within the complex.