Feature Report: Inside the WEG Build Out

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Organizers of the World Equestrian Games have quite the to-do list in the final month before the games kick off in Lexington. Louise Bowden of the World Games 2010 Foundation says it's been a busy summer at the Horse Park.

"We're working away on building our driving stadium, the temporary seats are going up at the outdoor stadium which is going to have three disciplines going on at it. They're working on putting up tents all around for the cross country course, driving marathon. The hospitality pavilion is being built which is a 30,000-square-foot area. The media village is being built."

The horse park is making room for all the athletes, horses, and spectators. And when fans aren't watching events like dressage, reining, or vaulting, they'll likely be inundated with promotional material, displays, and trade items. Large tents are going up for pavilions in the parking lot.

"We've started building the Alltech Experience pavilion which will house so many activities and really you'll be able to get the feel for the global reach of our title sponsor Alltech. You'll be able to pet sharks, eat some Dippin' Dots, they'll have a Kentucky Ale beer garden, you can go hang out and have an Alltech Angus burger and drink a Kentucky Ale."

The state tourism department gets its own pavilion, where bluegrass music, arts and crafts, state parks, and bourbon will be highlighted.

Near the entrance to the horse park, a building that's already gotten a lot of international attention will serve as the WEG welcome center for the Lexington Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

"It's a great location for them to able to talk to people, to tell them about what's going on in Kentucky and central Kentucky and Lexington," says Dr. Don Colliver, a professor in the University of Kentucky's Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department. He helps oversee the UK Solar House.

"It's also an opportunity for us to show that we can actually use solar energy very effectively. What we'll be doing is we've got 42 solar panels that are producing a lot of electricity. We have 60 hot water tubes that are producing hot water."

Several UK graduate students are working on their Master's with the solar house, including Jeffrey Kellow. His data collection will continue during the World Equestrian Games.

"My research is tied with the solar thermal system in the house. I'm working with integrating weather forecasting in the control of solar thermal energy collection, or energy collected from the sun to heat hot water. And I will be downloading forecasts and using those to simulate how the system will perform for the day. And then on the basis of that, determining how the energy will be stored and collected by the solar thermal system."

The UK Solar House moved off campus to the horse park about three weeks ago. Dr. Colliver says it takes about 400 man-hours to dismantle it and 500 to set it back up. The solar house is a net-zero structure, and produces a surplus of energy. That energy will stay at the horse park.

"We're talking about how it can be connected to some of the other facilities. The medical tent is one of the areas we will be connected to and we'll be generating power for their usage as well," says Colliver.

The WEG Foundation says it surpassed 300,000 tickets sold. An estimated 200,000-400,000 people will pass through the pavilions and horse park arenas during WEG's run September 25 through October 10.