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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 2, 2009

UI MBA program building new classroom facility in downtown Cedar Rapids

The University of Iowa's Tippie School of Management is building a new classroom facility in downtown Cedar Rapids for its part-time MBA program, which was forced to vacate its previous space after last year's flooding.

Curt Hunter, dean of the Tippie College of Business, said the new facility for the MBA-PM (Professionals and Managers) program is a sign of the university's commitment to helping downtown Cedar Rapids recover after the 2008 flood.

"Downtown has made great strides in recovering from the flood, and the University of Iowa and Tippie College of Business want to keep that momentum going," Hunter said. "This shows our commitment to helping restore economic vitality to the downtown area and the surrounding community." 

Jay Sa-Aadu, associate dean of the Tippie School of Management, said the program had also outgrown its old location.

"The MBA-PM in Cedar Rapids has reached such a level of success that a new, larger facility was needed for our students," said Sa-Aadu. "We used this circumstance to review our space, and we considered many options. In the end, we determined that staying downtown was a way to demonstrate our commitment as a stakeholder in the development of Cedar Rapids."

The new University of Iowa Center is located on the third floor of 221 2nd Ave. SE. The 12,000-square-foot space will include four large classrooms, five small breakout rooms, a conference room, office space and a student lounge. Sa-Aadu said the school is also installing updated classroom technology, including projectors and computers, lecterns and other forms of improved electronic presentation capabilities.

Current enrollment in the Cedar Rapids MBA-PM program is 593 students this fall. Classes will begin in the new facility in November.

The $1.2 million project is being paid for in part with federal stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and a $200,000 grant from the Hall-Perrine Foundation in Cedar Rapids. The building's owner, Stephen Emerson of Cedar Rapids, is also contributing to the reconstruction. Emerson is an alumnus of the MBA-PM program.

The Tippie School of Management offered evening and weekend classes in its MBA-PM program for 12 years in rented space in the Town Center building at 221 3rd Ave. SE. However, the building suffered extensive damage during the floods, with water levels reaching up to 8 feet on the first floor.

With that building unavailable or only partly available, classes have been held in temporary locations at Kirkwood Community College, the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce boardroom and other sites.

NOTE TO MEDIA: Media organizations are welcome to photograph the new facility while it's under construction. To arrange a visit, contact Tracy Wazac, Cedar Rapids MBA-PM director, at 319-335-1876 or by email at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010 (office), 319-541-8434 (cell),