Carnival changes to come in 2016

Last weekend’s Spring Carnival, the university’s 101st, was the last one to take place on the Morewood parking lot. Next year, Carnival will be spread across the College of Fine Arts (CFA) parking lot, the CFA lawn, and the Mall.

The Morewood parking lot, currently the site of Midway, will become unusable when construction for the upcoming Tepper Quadrangle breaks ground. Although construction was supposed to begin in March, it has been pushed back, allowing Carnival to stay on the Morewood parking lot this year.

The university announced plans for the Tepper Quadrangle in Nov. 2013 on the heels of a $67 million donation by alumnus David Tepper, whose 2003 donation of $55 million made him the namesake of the Tepper School of Business. Although plans for the Tepper Quadrangle have not been finalized, the university has selected an architecture firm — Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners — to design the expansion.

The new space is also supported by about $200 million of the university’s own money and several smaller alumni donations. It will include a new building for the Tepper School of Business, a university welcome center, a technology-enhanced learning center for the Eberly Center, fitness and recreation spaces, and a 600-seat auditorium.

There are plans to keep some space for parking in the Tepper Quadrangle, but since the plans are not finalized it’s unclear whether or not Carnival Midway will fit in the new space, according to Coordinator of Student Activities and advisor to Spring Carnival Tim Leonard. Next year, Leonard said via email, booths will be in the CFA parking lot, the main tent will be on the CFA lawn, and the rides will be on the CFA lawn and the Mall. The Carnival concert will also take place on the Mall.

Although its likely that the rides will damage the lawn, “One of the reasons we want to use the CFA Lawn is its durability,” Leonard continued by email. “We expect that there may be some damage to the lawn, but all of that is completely unknown and very weather dependent. We plan to use plywood to back onto the lawn and then use wood to disperse the weight of the rides so they don’t sink into the ground. However, if this rains, it could get messy.”

Rides will also be set up close to the sidewalk, Leonard said, to keep as much pedestrian traffic as possible off of the grass. “If damage does occur, we will most likely reseed the lawn, just like after Orientation. However, because Commencement is so close to Carnival, we will have to take extra care to make sure the appearance is appropriate for all of our families and guests coming to campus that weekend,” Leonard said.

The CFA parking lot and lawn was only one of many spaces considered for Carnival, Leonard said. The list of potential locations also included Gesling Stadium, Morewood Avenue, Margaret Morrison Street, Doherty Parking Lot, the East-West walkway and Merson Courtyard, and the fourth floor of the East Campus Garage. Each of these sites, however, has its disadvantages. The turf of Gesling Stadium, for example, would have to be covered, a process that is cost prohibitive. Additionally, vehicles over 7 ft. tall cannot drive into the East Campus Garage, which would make move on difficult.

Vice President of Campus Affairs Michael Murphy, with help from Carnegie Mellon’s other vice presidents, made the final decision of Carnival’s location.

The proposal for the new location, however, was the work of many parts of the university’s administration, including the Office of Student Activities, the Division of Student Affairs, Risk Management, University Police, and Campus Design & Facility Management, among others.

Several student organizations also contributed to the proposal, including the Spring Carnival Committee, AB Concerts, AB Tech, Sweepstakes, and any organization that typically builds a booth. Leonard also hosted a town hall meeting to garner student opinions, and presented the proposed changes to Student Government.

The new location will not affect the rules for booth, Leonard said. “The plan as of right now is that there will be no major changes,” Leonard noted in the email. “What will change drastically is the layout of Midway and how close the booths are to each other. However, that all depends on who wants to build next year. If we were to pick up Midway 2015 and move it the CFA Parking Lot, it would fit. However, we couldn’t fit many more booths.”

Now that the new location is finalized, Leonard said, Student Activities and the Spring Carnival Committee can start doing more detailed analysis to determine what other adjustments will need to be made to the structure of Midway and the regulations of the Booths and Midway.

“I think my favorite part about Booth and about Carnival is the families walking through the Booths, and I think I’m worried that having them on the CFA parking lot and lawn will deter families from coming,” junior electrical and computer engineering major and Booth Chair of Kappa Alpha Theta Rebecca Wolfinger said. “If families can still come, though, then there’s no reason why CFA lawn won’t still make for a successful Carnival experience.”