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MBA Program from U of I to Expand in Downtown Cedar Rapids

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CEDAR RAPIDS - Still recovering from the flood itself, the University of Iowa is helping Cedar Rapids recover.

The Tippie School of Management is moving, and expanding it's operations in downtown Cedar Rapids.

"It is a huge deal, a lot of traffic from a lot of professionals that are the type of people we want to encourage to hang out, every night, four nights a week at least," said Stephen Emerson, who owns the building.

Emerson graduated from the school, and had been trying to get them to move for a few years.

They're moving in above Blend, on 2nd Avenue. The school will take the entire third floor of the building.

The school was previously located in the Town Centre. The Town Centre building is currently in a bankruptcy court as an asset of Lehman Brothers.

The school had held classes in the Town Centre building for years, but ultimately grew beyond its surroundings and needed to move. The Dean of the University of Iowa's College of Business said the flood forced them to move, and they ended up holding class all around Cedar Rapids.

Instead of leaving downtown, the school came back.

"We think it's a win-win-win situation for everybody involved," said Curt Hunter, Dean of the University of Iowa College of Business.

After studying several locations, downtown made the most sense, not only because of the central location, but because it will bring up to 250 people here four nights a week, said Hunter

Hunter said bringing in students is a proven recipe for growing downtown. He said it worked when he did it with the University of Connecticut and moved a school to downtown Hartford, and he saw it first hand in Chicago in the mid-90's.

"A lot of that had to do with Columbia College putting dorms in the downtown area. So you have dorms, people walking the street, there's life in the city now," said Hunter.

Classes start in November, and hit full steam in January. So far, 593 students are enrolled for Fall.

The school got $200,000 from the Hall Perrine foundation as a part of the move, and won $500,000 in competitive funding from the University of Iowa to build the new site, said Hunter.

Hunter said the new site also allows room to grow. And, he said that's important considering the school is known world-wide, and Forbes ranked them very high for the return on investment.

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