MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia University has begun the process of constructing a footpath that will better connect the Downtown and Evansdale campuses thanks to a new grant from the state of West Virginia for $1.25 million.

Gov. Jim Justice announced on Friday that several projects across the state will be receiving grant funding as part of the Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails Program, totaling $9.7 million across 38 different projects. WVU will be receiving $1.25 million for its West Virginia University Campus Connector Path in an attempt to officialize a path that has already been trailblazed by students for several years.

Associate VP of Auxiliary and Business Services at WVU Ted Svehlik spoke with 12 News and said this project has been in the works for a couple of years now, but this new grant is actually making the project possible.

“This is critical to the connector path,” Svehlik said. “We’re thankful to the governor for the partnership of the DOH, who has been working with us on this project, and the city and the other sponsors of the project. It wouldn’t happen without this grant for sure.”

Svehlik said the path aims to improve pedestrian safety by providing an alternate route instead of the narrow sidewalks of University Avenue. The goal is also to have the path link to other trails around campus to provide more recreational opportunities.

Currently, this student-made path begins near the bottom of 8th Street and goes up a hill to end at the house of university president Gordon Gee, next to Allen Hall and the water tower. Svehlik said the new path will likely remain in the planning phase throughout 2023, and construction of the path will probably not finish until 2026.