Feasibility study under way for possible Mountainlair renovations
West Virginia University has retained Brailsford & Dunlavey, a national program management firm, to conduct a feasibility study regarding the potential renovation of the Mountainlair. The student union opened on WVU’s downtown campus in 1968 and has not been fully renovated since 1989.
The goal of the study is for the university to assess the campus and community programmatic and space needs, which will inform the renovation plans and ultimately transform the Mountainlair into a state-of-art, 21st-century facility.
“The Mountainlair is more than a ‘building’,” said Dr. William Schafer, vice president of student life. “It serves as the hub for the entire campus community, providing social, recreational and cultural programming that enhances the academic experience and contributes to student success. It has a lasting impact on the quality of student life, while contributing to the growth of the entire WVU-Morgantown community.”
With more than 220,000 square feet of space, the Mountainlair provides a place for the University community to socialize, eat, study, host events and meetings, and engage in campus life. It draws an average of 27,000 visitors each day and hosts more than 9,000 events a year.
“Decades have passed since the last major upgrade of the Mountainlair, yet student enrollment continues to grow and student needs continue to change,” said Michael Ellington, associate vice president of student life. “In order to meet the growth and changing needs of our campus community, we will need to invest in a facility that offers cutting-edge technology, meeting space, and functionality that supports student learning and engagement.”
Brailsford and Dunlavey will be conducting focus groups, intercept interviews, and online surveys to collect data and input from students, faculty, staff and Morgantown residents. The student survey began Friday, April 22. A final report is expected to be completed for the university by October 2016.
“Our goal is to provide the entire campus community with the opportunity to participate in the plan and to have their voices heard. The information gathered will help us make informed decisions on future investments in the Mountainair,” Ellington said.
Brailsford & Dunlavey, based in Washington D.C., focuses on collegiate quality of life facilities including student unions, housing, recreation, and student services buildings. The firm has completed more than 300 such assignments at campuses across the country, including WVU’s Student Recreation Center.