DUC construction forces tailgaters to spread across campus

Kayla Swanson

South Lawn won’t be the center of tailgating for game day like in years past.

The Downing University Center renovation project and new Topper Cafe site have taken up most of the lawn.

WKU Athletics Director Todd Stewart said the game day experience over the next two years will be different while construction takes place.

“There will be some tenting and some tailgating in the South Lawn area, but certainly not as much as there has been before,” Stewart said.

Stewart said most tailgating activities are going to move up Avenue of Champions, closer to the student tailgating area. There will also be a greater fan presence on Grise Hall lawn.

William Skaggs, the director of Annual Giving for WKU, previously tailgated on South Lawn, but will now get ready for the game on McCormack Hall lawn.

“Mainly it’s a location change obviously, but we’ll still have the same group of friends and fans,” Skaggs said.

The university plans to use more of the parking lot space than they have in the past.

“Campuses throughout the country tailgate on parking lots,” said Howard Bailey, vice president for Student Affairs. “We’ve got wonderful locations and a lot of other grassy areas beyond the South Lawn.”

President Gary Ransdell said he hopes students and fans are going to take advantage of the entire campus on game days.

“Any place on campus, just have at it, and make the campus, all of the campus, come alive on game day,” Ransdell said.

Bailey said the mentality that tailgating has to occur in only one area will have to change.

“These next two years we’re going to take it as an opportunity to expand tailgating and hopefully get our students and other fans to understand that you don’t have to be in direct sight of the stadium to tailgate,” Bailey said.