Construction can now begin for the Anna W. Ngai Alumni and Visitor Center after the university reached its goal of 90 percent of the $12 million needed to continue forward with the project, according to Long Beach State President Jane Close Conoley.
The venue will be named after Ngai, an international student from Hong Kong who graduated from LBSU in 1974, and is the lead donor for the center. The building is meant for students and alumni to come together for networking, mentoring opportunities and career development. According to Conoley, it will be “right in front of [Walter] Pyramid” and share the same parking lot.
Conoley made the announcement Oct. 30 during fifth district Councilman Daryl Supernaw’s monthly community meeting at the Los Altos Library.
“Last time I was here I talked about our plan to build the alumni and visitor center, but I told you we hadn’t reached the threshold of enough money to start,” Conoley said during the meeting. “We needed [to reach] 90 percent and we did.”
Prior to Conoley’s announcement, a LBSU website stated that only $5.6 million of the overall budget goal had been reached. For donations starting at $50,000, the school offers naming opportunities for various parts of the building.. According to the website, the project is funded through private contributions.
“Other Cal States already have an alumni center and [LBSU] does not have one,” Ngai said in a video. “I met alumni from Long Beach and we all feel so warm and we also feel connected. We are like a big family and it will be nice to build an alumni center.”
While alumni have expressed their enthusiasm for the center, some local residents do not share a similar sentiment.
“I am not too excited about having the alumni building placed directly in front of the Pyramid,” said Robert Dominguez, a resident who lives across the street from campus. “Right now, it is a nice vista and the pyramid is not obtrusive at all. I am concerned that this [center] might be.”
Dominguez said he believes that since the building is expected to experience heavy traffic during the evening and weekend, there will be more noise in the area.
“We like being able to see the vista of the pyramid,” Long Beach resident Janis Dominguez added. “When they first talked about building [the Pyramid], we were opposed to it because we thought it would be big and ugly. It turned out not to be a bother at all. We still get a breeze and it’s very nice and pleasing and I don’t want to see a building there.”
The alumni center will also be used for special events and gatherings. The addition of the center will make it the second net-zero, 100 percent sustainable building on campus, the first being the College of Continuing and Professional Education.
The alumni center will also be the new home for Prospector Pete statue after its retirement as the school’s mascot, as announce by Conoley Sept. 20. The statue is currently located outside Liberal Arts 5.
“We are actually treating it like a piece of art and hiring a speciality contractor that will help us move it correctly without damaging it. We are going to crate it and store it over in Lot G6,” said Director of Design and Construction Services Mark Zakhour. “I am not sure when the president wants the statue moved but I know it will be moved before the building is open.”
Conoley said she predicts the center will take a year to construct.
“We will break ground for the alumni center on Sept. 28, 2019,” Conoley said in an email. “It will take a year to build the center. So my best guess is we will move the statue in 2020.”