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CASPER, Wyo. — Casper College students will pay about 20 percent more to live on campus next year.

Increases to room and board fees were approved by the college board of trustees Tuesday night. The increases were recommended due to new and renovated residence halls. Meal plans will cost between $25 and $50 more.

A new residence hall that will house about 450 students is expected to be completed for the fall 2011 semester. The new rates reflect revenue bond payments on the construction, which will be financed with $23.5 million from revenue bonds and a gift from the Casper College Foundation.

A double-occupancy residence hall room will cost $1,450 per student per semester — up from $1,175 in 2010-11. The Wheeler Terrace apartments, which formerly housed families, have been converted to two-person apartments, which cost residents $2,250 each per semester.

The apartment rents are under market, said Lynde Colling, vice president of administrative services. A room in a renovated apartment costs about $500 per month and includes utilities.

Room rates also include phone service, basic cable with Internet and access to campus security. Residence halls include a commons area with fireplace, multiple lounge areas with kitchens, laundry facilities and residence hall staff.

The new building is attractive to Jon Urman, 20, a sophomore planning to continue studying at the college through the University of Wyoming/Casper College Center. He has watched the new dorm being built from his room in neighboring Morad Hall. Private bathrooms are a big plus to the new building, he said.

"I enjoy the dorm atmosphere — living around classmates is huge," Urman said. "I just hope we're getting what we're paying for."

Six of Wyoming's seven community colleges raised or plan to raise room and board fees for next year. Room rates will jump more than 40 percent at Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington due to renovations and improvements.

Rates for 2011-12 haven't been set at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, but a slight increase is planned, said Lisa Murphy, director of public relations. The college is making revenue bond payments for a residence hall built in 2006.

Fees go directly to the housing programs. Each college sets individual room and board fees in addition to course-related fees.

Colleges did not increase tuition for 2010-11 in exchange for federal stimulus money. Tuition will increase 4.5 percent for 2011-12, and fees are expected to increase as well.

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