An enthusiastic crowd threw its two cents into what the future of Thompson Rivers University will look like on Thursday, and officials couldn’t be happier.
“When everybody’s involved, the quality of the decision is good,” said TRU president Alan Shaver. “This process will transform the university one way or the other and we want it to be a transformation that’s entirely, 100 per cent positive.”
The university is updating its 2003 campus master plan and an open house on Thursday allowed architectural firm Stantec to present concept boards that included details like common areas and walking paths to large projects like residential housing.
Stantec architect Ray Wolfe said the University Village concept is currently at a very high level in order for the campus community to have the room to pitch in.
“As simple as (the University Village) may sound, I actually don’t quite understand it fully and I think that’s good,” said Wolfe.
What is clear, he said, is it’s a place where people can live, work, play and learn.
Organizers invited people to give a thumbs up on Stantec’s images with blue stick-on dots and add comments on post it notes and flip charts.
The public eagerly participated.
The most popular images were the outdoor scenes such as students sitting on a lawn in Adirondack chairs in front of a chalkboard, seemingly in mid lesson.
Another heavily dotted image showed a wooden semi circle of seating and awning in a modern twist on a gazebo.
An ice rink and fountains also received big approval.
Visitor comments included suggestions for a brew pub that would involve the culinary arts program and a farmer’s market.
In fact, much of it had a heavy emphasis on local businesses.
This delighted Paige Kimberley, a first year journalism student, who wondered about the retail aspect of the campus master plan.
“It depends how far they’re going with it,” she said. “If they’re going to get into different retail ideas, you don’t want a mall sitting in the middle of the university. So it would be nice to involve the city of Kamloops and get local entrepreneurs here.”
The campus master plan is on a timeline for completion by the end of the year with two more open houses slated for April and September.
But the manifestation of ideas rolling out of the process is never ending, said Shaver.
“It’s all part of keeping ourselves modern, keeping ourselves contemporary, meeting the changing needs of students, faculty and staff,” he said.
“We look upon our university as something that’s going to be around for hundreds of years so we’ll be doing this for as long as this university exists.”