Mountainlair concerns force FallFest to new location

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Beginning Friday, WVU students will be unpacking in dorms and college apartments with classes scheduled to resume August 17.

With just days to go before Welcome Weekend activities, including FallFest, university officials learned the popular live concerts should be held at a new venue. The Mountainlair Plaza may not be sturdy enough for a crowd of 20,000 or more.

“We recently had an engineering study of the plaza and there were some questions raised about its ability to withstand the weight of FallFest,” explained John Bolt, WVU Director of University Relations/News.

FoodFest, a venue for local vendors to offer food, entertainment and prizes, is held in conjunction with FallFest. Both will be relocated.

“WVU is committed to continuing to have FallFest. This is not a half step. Because of structural issues, it was just wise to move it.”

FoodFest begins at 3 p.m. Tuesday, August 16 with FallFest entertainment beginning at 4 p.m.

The events will be on the Evansdale Campus, Lot 77, beside the Health and Education Building (known as the College of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences) next to the Student Rec Center.

“We looked at a lot of places. But, by the time you consider size of crowd, access, weight, all of those issues really start limiting things pretty quickly,” Bolt said.

He added the move will come with some benefits.

“The PRT is much more accessible where it is. Public transportation is much more accessible. You don’t disrupt downtown like FallFest does. We won’t have to close any roads.”

Meanwhile, an already ongoing feasibility study of the Mountainlair will include inspection of the plaza.

“We’ve got a consultant who’s helping take a look and see what could be done, what should be done. And don’t forget the Mountainlair Plaza is also the roof of the Mountainlair parking garage. So, that’s one of the reasons” for study to continue said Bolt.

WVU announced in April Brailsford & Dunlavey, based in Washington D.C., would be assessing space and programs for potential renovations of the student center built in 1968. It was last fully renovated in 1989.

The entertainment line up for FallFest will not be announced until Friday.