The home of Long Beach State basketball and volleyball for over 20 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 to that point. 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.
The building also features a state-of-the-art conference center, The Pointe, a first-rate venue for academic lectures, workshops, seminars, and banquets. The Walter Pyramid also features Long Beach State’s strength and conditioning center.
One of four true pyramids in the United States (others are located in Las Vegas, San Diego 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.
The Walter Pyramid is believed to be the largest space-frame structure in North America. The building’s infrastructure utilizes 18,000 steel tubes and connection modules, joined by more than 160,000 three-quarter inch bolts. If the tubes were laid end-to-end, they would form a pipe span 26 miles long.
The Walter Pyramid has played host to several NCAA-sponsored events including numerous women’s volleyball NCAA matches, the 2001 and 2003 NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championships and the 2003 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Regionals.
The following items are prohibited from the Walter Pyramid – Food/Drinks, Bicycles/Skateboards/Rollerblades, Video Cameras/Flash Photography, Animals, Strollers, Noise-Makers, Balloons, Drugs, Alcohol, Weapons and Heaters. The Walter Pyramid is a non-smoking facility – Please ask Event Management for the closest designated smoking areas.
In 2012, Long Beach State debuted a new floor design, highlighting “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.