CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (June 16, 2022)–Kirkwood Community College will be consolidating its operations in Benton and Cedar Counties. As a result, the college’s Tippie-Mansfield Center in Belle Plaine and the Cedar County Center in Tipton will close on June 30.
While both centers made an impact in their communities over the years, the changing needs of their surrounding areas have led to a significant decrease in the use of the locations over time. Both buildings are smaller, utilize an older model of educational delivery, offer limited options, and serve a very small number of students–most of which are dual enrollment learners.
To Kirkwood President Lori Sundberg, the consolidation is another example of the college adapting to changing needs.
“Since its inception, Kirkwood has always prided itself on providing quality, accessible education to the people of our seven-county area,” said Sundberg. “Over the years, how we have accomplished this goal has transformed with the times. When the need for change has come, Kirkwood has made the necessary adjustments to continue to provide excellent service and allocated college resources to ensure they are as effective as possible. Once again, the educational landscape in eastern Iowa has changed and Kirkwood needs to adjust in order to best serve our region.”
The college has informed community leaders and stakeholders about these upcoming changes. Despite the closing of the centers, students in those parts of the college’s service area will still be able to get an education from Kirkwood. In addition to dual credit, students in these communities looking to take credit classes can do so with online learning options. High School Completion programs will also still be offered to those that need them.
Both centers have had minimal staffing needs for many years. The closures affect one full-time staff member who will be retiring, in addition to three part-time employees.
The Tippie-Mansfield Center, which was once the Belle Plaine library building, opened in 1994 following financial gifts from the late Henry B. Tippie as well as the Wesley and Irene Mansfield Foundation. The Cedar County Center has been housed in a rental space in Tipton since 2019. The center’s previous location opened in 1991 and was sold to Cedar County Emergency Management in 2020.