In the first floor of the University Student Union, scores of students in the Art Gallery and Study Lounge sit quietly while scrolling through their phones, sleeping or doing homework.
One dry wall adjacent to the lounge, the men’s restroom harvests swaths of schoolboys sitting just one stall away from another as they conduct a symphony of unfettered grunts and splashes of stress fluids and excretions.
Whether or not for its unintentional live music, degree of cleanliness or its accessibility, the students of Long Beach State have claimed this restroom as the best on campus in a recent Daily 49er ballot polling votes from hundreds of campus members.
In the men’s restrooms’ nine stalls, each is equipped with a chalkboard for students to write uplifting messages or draw obscene pictures to pass the time between flush and wipe. Four chalkboards are also located outside of the 10 urinals.
The women’s restroom is directly to the left of the men’s room and contains nine stalls with chalkboards. Dispensers with tampons and pads are also available for bathroom users.
A one-stall gender neutral restroom is located between the Beach Auditorium and 22 West Media and contains both tampons and condom dispensers.
The men and women’s restrooms have undergone consistent infrastructure and aesthetic renovations since they were constructed in 1972 along with the other latrines in the first and second floors of the USU.
Associated Students Inc. facilities representatives said that under a new preventive maintenance system, they regrout the floors, recaulk and reseal the toilets, snake the drains and replace old dispensers and mirrors annually.
Over the summer, restoration of the USU restrooms totaled $33,495, with work on new flush valves, resealing, replacement chalkboards, lighting diffusers and paint supplies.
Arnecia Bryant, associate director of facilities operations for ASI, said the USU restrooms are maintained two to three times an hour. Her team oversees maintenance and custodial set ups within the USU.
“People go in and out of there so much, it’s a very utilized restroom,” Bryant said. “It just keeps going after every class lets out or before every class begins there’s a rush, so there’s someone who has to go in there and upkeep them during that period.”
Despite Bryant stating that peak hours of restroom use beginning as early as 8:30 a.m., the restroom is the perfect room, voted by many, to just sit and think. I’ve written half this article sitting in the furthest stall on the right section pushing out chunks of paragraphs and bodily excesses. No distractions; just peaceful ambient splashes.
With the new Imagine Beach 2030 initiative, university administrators are looking to the community for input on how to improve the institution; one facet for improvement is sustainability, which a makeover of the USU restrooms has embraced.
According to John Jost, ASI facility maintenance supervisor, the new flush valves on the toilets use 2.4 gallons per flush compared to the old system’s 3.5 gallon usage. Urinals have been converted to one gallon flush.
“Based on that we’re saving about a gallon of water per flush per toilet, so we’re saving thousands of gallons a day based on the usage of the restrooms,” Jost said.
So next time you need to drop a deuce, sit your caboose and leave a nice message on the chalkboard at the first floor USU restroom.