Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A unique partnership centered on STEM education and careers and involving the University of Iowa, Kirkwood Community College, and the Grant Wood Area Educational Agency will begin to take shape at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, with a groundbreaking at the UI Research Park.

The event will be held at 2301 Oakdale Blvd. in Coralville, just east of the National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS). The public and news media are invited to attend.

Scheduled speakers include UI President Sally Mason and Provost P. Barry Butler; Kirkwood’s President Mick Starcevich and trustee Lois Bartelme; Stephen Murley, superintendent of the Iowa City Community School District; and Joe Crozier, chief administrator of the Grant Wood AEA. Light refreshments will be served.

artist rendering of new building
Artist rendering of the new Kirkwood Regional Center, courtesy of OPN Architects.

Overarching goals for the 100,000-square-foot facility, slated to open by fall 2015, include stimulating interest through innovative programming in STEM education and other technical careers, providing multiple career options for students in STEM through connections with area employers, providing options for earning college credit to pursue college and post graduate degrees, and preparing future STEM teachers in a unique setting.

K-12 students will have opportunities to spend half-days enrolled in UI or Kirkwood STEM-related career academies, liberal arts, and other classes at the center, with anticipated participation of the College Community, Iowa City, Regina, Clear Creek, Solon, Tipton, and West Branch community school districts. The experience will be augmented by linkages between the center and technology-based companies in the UI research park and throughout the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids corridor, as well as with UI specialty centers like UI Hospitals and Clinics, the State Hygienic Laboratory at the UI, NADS, the Iowa Flood Center, and the Center for Computer Aided Design.

The center will house Kirkwood faculty and staff, UI faculty and graduate students, staff from the Grant Wood AEA and the Iowa Governor’s Southeast Regional STEM Hub, announced by Gov. Terry Branstad last year and which will work to create and evaluate new models of STEM education and teacher professional development. Students will be exposed to several pathways leading to applied science diplomas, degree, or technical certification, and fully transferrable credits to take with them to a four-year university and beyond.

The Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa will be the fourth in Kirkwood’s service area, following Jones and Linn County and one scheduled to open in Washington County in fall 2014.

View more information about the UI-Kirkwood project here.