Casper College is in the process of planning a new student union and the public is invited on Thursday to look at the architectural renderings and tell the college what they think about the designs. Proposal drafts are ready:

"The architects have come back with a proposal. I've gotten a sneak peak and it's pretty impressive, so we're excited to receive some comments on the proposal. There's some floor plans. There's some external concepts that the architects will show the group. There's some early renditions of the way the exterior might look."

Rich Fujita, director of community relations for the college, said they're interested in how the new student center would work as a community meeting space specifically, and how the center could be welcoming to the Casper community in general.

Gathering place for community:

"We would like the new student center to be a place where people can come and meet. Even if they don't have business directly at the college, we just want it to be a convenient place for people to consider their own. We're going to have lots of students and faculty there and certainly we would like to have community there."

And, says Fujita, there's another benefit to the new student center, namely to bridge the geographic jump from one part of the campus to the other.

College built on a butte:

"In 2006 we developed a campus master plan. That's when the campus expressed a lot of frustration about an inability to go from lower campus to upper campus, so that's when the vision for the student center first got formed as being really a bridge, or a passageway from lower campus to upper campus."

The reason they want to ease that jump goes back to making the campus a place where people are comfortable. Mr. Fujita said that studies have shown that for academic performance and general safety, it's better when students are content to stay on campus.

People walk into communal places:

"Sad part now is so many individuals just hop right in their car and drive all the way up and around. And that's not really the best way to build community. Communities are built when you're walking and seeing your colleagues face to face, so that's why the student center is right in the center so that people will naturally congregate there as they're on their way up, down or elsewhere."

There two times for the public to review the architectural designs and make comments.

Discussions throughout day:

"Well we have two sessions that are expressly designed for the public at 3:30 and 6:30 and both of those are in our existing Strausner Campus Center. However, there's some other meetings during the day and of course the public's welcome at any of those."