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WVU looking for partners, infrastructure dollars to address Grumbein’s Island

MORGANTOWN — You don’t have to live in Morgantown very long to learn that if WVU is in session, and you have any constraints on your time, a cruise past the Mountainlair is probably best avoided.

But changes to Grumbein’s Island, the University Avenue mesh point of pedestrians and vehicles between the Mountainlair and Martin Hall, are once again being considered thanks to the promise of coming infrastructure dollars.

Morgantown City Manager Kim Haws was among those who walked the area as part of a preliminary discussion.

“One of the thoughts though, and one of the reasons we felt we needed to meet sooner rather than later, is to come up with a plan that works for everybody so that we might be able to address that in the form of infrastructure dollars,” Haws said.

WVU Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Rob Alsop said the hope is to partner with the city, the state and other players to address a longstanding issue.

“As you know, when school is in, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 or 5 p.m., every class change traffic is at a standstill,” Alsop said. “We’re thinking about if there would be a way we could address it. The city seemed to be a good place to have a discussion as to how we could work together, really.”

Alsop said there currently are no working designs or cost estimates, noting, “It’s very early.”

Haws added that the public will get an opportunity to weigh in.

“Anything that’s done is going to have public input because we have to make sure whatever works for the university works for the community and for the people utilizing that area,” he said, noting it would be nice for the various parties to come together “to come up with a solution that’s been talked about for about 100 years.”


Grumbein’s Island was designed by Dr. John Behny Grumbein in the early 1930s.

It’s undergone a number of changes over the years, including a $1 million overhaul in 1994 that widened the crosswalk, made College Avenue two ways from the intersection, eliminated one northern lane of University Avenue and widened the court in front of the Mountainlair.

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