SPOKANE, Wash. — Very few college students get the chance to have the mayor of Spokane’s undivided attention, but this week several Washington State University Spokane students will share their ideas with Mayor John Powers and others.

On Wednesday, March 12, 17 WSU Spokane Interdisciplinary Design Institute students will present their University District design concepts to Powers, his economic development adviser, a city councilman and several other Spokane business leaders from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at the Phase I Classroom Building, Room 148, 668 N. Riverpoint Blvd.

“This is as real as it gets,” said Bob Scarfo, associate professor landscape architecture. “The mayor wants the U District to become a reality as does the East Spokane Business group.”

The fourth-year undergraduate landscape architecture students will be teamed into four groups focusing presentations on retail and mixed use, student housing, multigenerational housing and circulation. Circulation features aligning bicycle and pedestrian pathways to link the three universities with downtown Spokane, the Centennial Trail and the proposed U District.

The mission of the design studio class is to revitalize a one-square-mile area recently identified as the University District. The U District encompasses the residential and hospital complex at the base of the South Hill, Division Street to the west, Sharpe to the north, and Hamilton to the east.

The U District project in the classroom has been a catalyst in bringing together a diverse group of shareholders in the real world. One anticipated outcome of Wednesday’s presentation is that the East Spokane Business Association and City Hall will use the students’ presentation boards to communicate the U District idea to others, potentially enlisting more partners and displaying ways to achieve this idea.

While the students have been focused on fine-tuning their presentations, their professor is keeping her eye on the big picture. “The students’ presentations are very important,” noted Elizabeth Payne, adjunct professor. “The mayor encouraged the students to generate potential logos that could be considered as an adopted signature for the U District.”

The Interdisciplinary Design Institute at WSU Spokane advances knowledge to enhance the quality of people’s lives in the built and natural environment through interdisciplinary instruction, research, and community service in design and construction. Program information online at www.idi.spokane.wsu.edu.

Editor’s Note: Students available for interviews at 1:30 p.m. in the Phase I Classroom Building Room 148, 668 N. Riverpoint Blvd. Visuals of the proposed University District are part of the students’ presentations. Call Kaarin Appel to schedule interviews at 358-7528.