Dear Beach Community:
In higher education, summer is a time when many construction and facility improvement projects move into high gear. At Cal State Long Beach, it is no different.
Before I offer a few updates, I wanted to let you know of an action we recently took here at The Beach.
We have long planned to relocate the “Spirit of ‘49” statue outside our Liberal Arts 5 building to a courtyard of our new alumni center in recognition of the fact that many Beach grads consider the statue a university landmark.
We recognize, however, that for many decades the statue was informally, yet widely, referred to as “Prospector Pete,” in reference to our now-retired mascot. This connection to an important yet painful time in California history is difficult for many of us in the Beach family to reconcile. We will develop additional opportunities on campus to more fully examine the past as well as honor our Indigenous peoples.
Accordingly, in light of the renewed national conversation about anti-racism, we have chosen to begin the relocation process early and have removed the statue from the center of campus. When installed in a courtyard at the new alumni center, we look forward to providing important contextual information about the founding and history of our great university.
Liberals Arts 5 Plaza
With the relocation of the “Spirit of ‘49” statue complete, a student-led project will reimagine the plaza outside our LA5 building. “Student design teams and their faculty mentors are working on a new design for the LA5 plaza that reflects our campus’ aspirations for inclusion, diversity, and excellence,” said Professor Emeritus Craig Stone, director of the American Indian Program. “It will be a place of celebration and reflection and a call for continued work for justice.”
Anna W. Ngai Alumni Center
The final design details for our new Anna W. Ngai Alumni Center are nearing completion. The facility promises to be a welcoming campus portal and an in-demand event center. Tear-down of the existing structure is scheduled to begin in August, followed by site preparation. When complete in winter 2022, the facility will inspire, facilitate, and sustain alumni and community engagement in ways that have never been possible before. The Center will feature event and gathering spaces, meeting rooms, and displays, serving as a stunning symbol of Beach Pride.
Horn Center and Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum
Yesterday, our contractor began work on the Horn Center and Kleefeld Contemporary renovation, which will also feature an expansion to the museum. The building will feature new state-of-the-art lecture halls, classrooms, and student lounge and study space, as well as a new student computer lab. In the Kleefeld Contemporary, diverse exhibitions and programs join permanent collections that are a regional visual resource and archive of contemporary culture, presented as major exhibitions, offered for examination by students and scholars, and circulated to national institutions. The project, made possible through donations and state deferred-maintenance and infrastructure funding, will also create new outdoor spaces that incorporate some of our beautiful art sculptures. The work is expected to be complete in time for the fall 2021 semester.
Parkside North Student Housing
Our new Parkside North Student Housing Project will add 472 new student beds to our campus. It is exciting to note that the campus just celebrated a major milestone: the topping-off of the main building with the pour of the last concrete deck. The entire structural concrete frame is now poured, and we will move to building-out the interior and exterior skin. We remain on schedule for a May 2021 completion.
As we continue to move through this challenging time and adapting operations due to the pandemic, the campus is open and buzzing with exciting work.
We all look forward to when our community is fully reunited back on campus.
Jane Close Conoley, Ph.D.