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The home of Long Beach State basketball and volleyball for over 15 years, the Walter Pyramid has become a nationally recognized icon for the university and the city of Long Beach. Because of its dramatic appearance, its unique multi-purpose capability and its lure for television production, the Walter Pyramid is one of the finest collegiate athletic facilities in the western United States.
On March 5, 2005, the pyramid officially became named the Walter Pyramid, thanks to the generous donations presented to the university by Dr. Mike and Arline Walter. Long-time supporters of the school, the Walters gift to athletics and academics was the largest single gift in 49er Athletics history. Officially opened on November 30, 1994, the 49ers rolled to a 71-64 win over the University of Detroit before a crowd of 5,021 and an ESPN television audience.
The structure's distinctive cobalt blue exterior has permanently altered the city's skyline. It rises 18 stories above north campus and can be seen for miles in all directions. It has provided a quantum leap in both the image and effectiveness of the Long Beach State athletics programs, with an immediate impact on the 49ers' fan base, scholarship fundraising, recruiting and revenue generation. Nearly 200,000 visitors pass through the Walter Pyramid's entrances annually.
Designed by Long Beach architect Don Gibbs and built by the Nielson Construction Company of San Diego, The Walter Pyramid cost approximately $22 million.
The Walter Pyramid measures 345 feet on each side of its perfectly square base. Its floor space accommodates nine volleyball courts or three full basketball courts and four additional half basketball courts on the "activity" level.
One of three true pyramids in the United States (others are located in Las Vegas and Memphis), The Walter Pyramid's most unique feature is its cantilevered seating system, mounted on moveable platforms. When use of the floor level is required for physical education classes, each 81-ton seating platform can be raised hydraulically to expose over 39,000 square feet of beechwood flooring.
In 2012, Long Beach State debuted a new floor design, highlighting "The Beach" and the school's proximity to the Pacific. With palm trees and sand dunes in Old Gold, the new floor is a classic mix of old and new traditions.