Sunday, July 22, 2018

Local Business Notes: UIS is ‘committed to downtown’

University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch, who attended Land of Lincoln Economic Development Corporation CEO Eric Berglund’s introduction last week, said the university is “committed to downtown,” whether it’s on the vacant YWCA block or in another location.

As my colleague Crystal Thomas reported July 11, Mayor Jim Langfelder is pushing back plans for the 2.35-acre Y-block until at least September to see what opportunities the state budget might bring for universities that possibly would want to have a presence on the block.

For UIS, the answer may be an innovation hub as part of the Discovery Partners Institute. The Chicago-based, University of Illinois system-led institute is partnering with the Illinois Innovation Network and is looking to have innovation hubs throughout the state.

Koch said UIS should receive guidelines by mid-August and will hopefully submit a proposal for a hub by the end of September.

“Not within the next two weeks, but things are absolutely moving forward relatively quickly,” Koch said.

If the university does receive an innovation hub, it could be borne out of an expanded Innovate Springfield. The business incubator, now housed across the street from the Old State Capitol, has a partnership with UIS but would likely be completely turned over to the university under that scenario.

This article appeared in the State Journal-Register on July 22, 2018.

Read the entire article.