- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A consultant’s report says downtown Des Moines is the best-suited location for the state’s three regent universities to create a joint campus but that the cost of doing so could be prohibitive.

MGT Consulting LLC examined the potential for a joint-university campus in the Des Moines area that would offer programs from the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa, The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/20ThueR ) reported.

The report, prompted by the University of Iowa’s acquisition of the AIB College of Business campus last year, details the kind of higher education courses needed in Des Moines and outlines the pros and cons of five different locations for the regents resource center.

The locations studied in the report include downtown, the AIB campus, the western suburbs, the campus of a non-regent college in Des Moines and multiple sites distributed around the metro. The findings are expected to be presented to the Board of Regents on June 9.

“We’ve just received the report and are excited to look through it in detail,” said Bruce Rastetter, regent president, in a prepared statement.

The report said a downtown site would be convenient for commuters, would align with local economic development efforts and would be close to a large concentration of potential students and employers. But it also said that it could come with heavy development and acquisition costs.

There is no funding plan or cost estimates for launching the project.

Using multiple sites throughout the metro area scored lowest among the consultant’s options.

Steven Zumbach, a former regent, said the report highlights the need for the state’s universities to establish a greater physical presence in Des Moines, beyond the online classes they already offer.

“The primary point is there is a need for a regents center in the greater Des Moines area,” he said. “While technology is wonderful, it is not a substitute for interaction with an actual faculty member.”

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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