Contrary to popular belief, no student fees were spent to build the 6-foot, concrete gold-cast “Go Beach” letters near Brotman Hall.
The new “Go Beach” letters were erected the first week of school and stand 6 feet tall by the west turnaround as a byproduct of a $26 million campuswide utility infrastructure project, which was fully compensated by a state bond.
According to Mark Zakhour, director of design and construction services, the campus was required to replace rusted, leaky water pipes that were once underneath the west turnaround. Zakhour said the old water pipes were inefficient in providing heating and cooling in a timely fashion.
Instead of replacing the wall that once stood in that area, the university and facilities representatives opted to put up the seven letters as a designated “selfie-central” for passersby as well as provide a site that offers shady seating areas and WiFi.
The implementation of the letters came to be as part of a way to save money and “enhance the student experience,” Zakhour said.
The funds for the infrastructure projects on campus come primarily from state bonds. Tony Malagrino, interim associate vice president for physical planning & facilities management, confirmed the cost of the seven “Go Beach” letters to be $60,000. The cost came as part of the state allocation for infrastructure funds.
“Not a dollar [of student fees] was used for the ‘Go Beach’ letters,” Zakhour said.
Within the state allocation, the university has also committed to putting in a new line of reclaimed water and fixing the storm drains streaming from behind Family and Consumer services to the creek by the College of Continuing and Professional Education.
Currently, the campus has three ongoing construction projects: a campuswide utility infrastructure project; the renovation of Peterson Hall with the addition of the student success center; and the creation of a new classroom building in the College of Continuing and Professional Education.
The $44 million renovation of Peterson Hall is part of a separate funding allocation by the state and by donor Bob Murphy. The disabled student center within the new success center will be rebranded as the Murphy Access Center. According to Zakhour, the project is slated to finish by December 2018 and will be open the following spring semester.
Although many students find this new hallmark on campus gravitating, not all were accepting.
Holly Frazier, a senior education major, said she was not fond of barless “A” letter, which is also being promoted on university athletic jerseys.
“Well the ‘A’ is kind of weird,” Frazier said. “Still, it is nice they are trying to make this part of campus aesthetically pleasing.”
Zakhour noted the unfavorable condition the letters initially came in. Nevertheless, the letters will continue to be repainted until they are deemed acceptable by facilities management.
“When we took them off the truck with a crane, some of the paint was damaged,” Zakhour said. “So they have to go out there and repaint it before it’s accepted.”
The College of Continuing and Professional Education will be paying for their new building.
“Since they create their own revenue…they’re able to pool alone which is called a state revenue bond and then they pay that back over the next 30 years,” Zakhour said.
The building is expected to be fully constructed by August 2018.
Diego Gomez contributed to this story.