The big, bright yellow "Go Beach" letters near West Campus Circle at California State University, Long Beach, just might've been a good selfie opportunity for students at the beginning of spring semester Monday.

But they marked just part of a two-year, $22 million infrastructure project at 1250 Bellflower Blvd., which included irrigation, lighting and landscaping upgrades. 

"The letters were a happy bi-product of the project," CSULB media and digital news executive director Jeff Bliss said. "It's also a branding experience, an opportunity to trade one thing for another."

He added the money was from a state bond for several CSU campuses. 

The circle was in disrepair, Bliss said, and needed major work to improve the drainage system. When rain came, he said the drop off area flooded, and nearby Brotman Hall and other buildings were in danger of flooding.

Since the area had to be torn up to install new piping, school officials decided the main drop-off hub could use some other touches, he said. Wi-Fi, seating, lighting for nighttime safety, shade trees, a flagpole and ADA upgrades were added.

A replacement wall also was needed, Bliss said, but marketing officials, working with students and design and construction director Mark Zakhour, decided to put the money into the phrase. Each six-foot, pre-cast concrete letter weighs 2.5 tons, Bliss said, and depicts the school's motto, "Go Beach." He added the area likely would become a selfie center and already had social media posts, adding to the school's likability. 

"If you're happy where you are, you're probably going to succeed," he said. 

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Emily Thornton can be reached at

Emily is a staff writer covering higher education and other various topics for Gazette Newspapers. She has a background in weekly and daily newspapers and a bachelor’s in communication from La Sierra University.

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