Kirkwood Authorized To Operate Apple Campus Store
By George Ford, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Kirkwood Community College will be opening an Apple Authorized Campus Store this fall, complete with authorized service for Apple products.
Kirkwood was recently granted authorization to become an Authorized Campus Store, one of only three in Iowa, the only community college in the state and one of five community colleges in the nation who hold the distinction.
Construction will begin in May on Eagle Tech, which will be located across the hall from the Kirkwood Bookstore in Benton Hall.
“Julie Copeland, Kirkwood Bookstore manager, has been developing the relationship with Apple for over a year,” said Kirkwood President Mick Starcevich. “Our selection is due in no small part to Julie’s hard work and that of her team.”
Copeland said a six-month build-out is projected for Eagle Tech, with the store expected to open in November. She said the Eastern Iowa community will be welcome to shop for Apple and other products at Eagle Tech and take advantage of the tech support that will be available.
“We will have a full-time technician who will be Apple-certified as well as certified to repair PC brands such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard,” Copeland said. “Anyone in our Corridor community is welcome to use that service.”
Copeland said the seed for an Apple campus store was sown when the college was looking at what to do with space that formerly housed a convenience store.
“About 18 months ago, we did some remodeling of the food service area in Iowa Hall,” she said. “Some of the components within the store, like a Starbucks, moved up to food service. We knew we were going to have about 1,800-square-feet of space available, so we began looking at what we could do with it that would support our students and education.”
Copeland said ideas submitted by Kirkwood students, staff and faculty included everything from a Golden Arches to a pool hall. She also visited a number of university and community college campuses in the region looking at potential uses for the space.
“A constant theme that I really felt we were missing was being able to support students and their education from a technology standpoint, and not just sales but also technical support,” Copeland said. “Over 90 percent of Kirkwood students use our Angel online network to get class information, submit their homework and do testing, but we don’t have anything to support it.
“We started dabbling with bringing in a couple of laptop computers and seeing how those were received. What we were selling was going through the roof, but we didn’t have the service to support it.
“With all the emphasis on electronic books and textbooks, if we are going to continue to be a forward-thinking institution we need to provide our students with that kind of service.”
Copeland said convincing Apple to authorize a campus store was a daunting task, given the Cupertino, Calif., technology giant’s preference for college and university locations.
“Apple is very selective about who it will authorize as a reseller,” she said. “They look at college and universities has having students locked in for four years, whereas community colleges typically have students who commute to the campus and are very diverse in terms of their student population.”
Copeland said Apple representatives were impressed with Kirkwood during their multiple visits to the campus and the community. She said the final authorization from Apple was received earlier this week.
“When you look at the ‘firsts’ that we have at Kirkwood, it’s a testament to the support and resources that we have to achieve great things,” Copeland said. “Right now, it really feels like Christmas around here.”
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