Mount Mercy University dedicating CRST Graduate Center

Company gift paid for majority of building's renovations

George Ford
Published: September 12 2013 | 5:30 am - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 8:20 pm in

Mount Mercy University on Friday will dedicate its newly renovated CRST International Graduate Center in northeast Cedar Rapids.

The facility at 1599 Wenig Rd. NE, near the corner Matterhorn Drive NE, was formerly the U.S. Army Reserve Center. The property and buildings were vacated in 2011 when the new $38 million Cedar Rapids Armed Forces Reserve Center opened at 1500 Wright Brothers Blvd. SW.

Mount Mercy took possession of the property in October 2012 after the former army and naval reserve training center was deemed surplus U.S. government property.

A federal grant, which specified that the building be used for educational and administrative purposes, funded 100 percent of the property purchase. Many of the renovations were funded by a $2.1 million gift from Dyan and John Smith on behalf of CRST International.

The Smiths’s philanthropy marked the largest single outright gift in Mount Mercy’s 85-year history.

The renovated 34,494-square-foot building includes a 3,324-square-foot auditorium that will seat up to 200 people, a marriage and family therapy clinic, computer lab, coffee shop, lobby, common area and faculty conference room.

Mount Mercy offers four graduate programs, including master of arts in education, master of business administration, master of arts in marriage and family therapy, and master of science in nursing.

Mount Mercy expects about 150 faculty, staff and students will use the center on any given day. The majority of the students who will attend class at the Graduate Center are adult learners who work during the day and attend classes at night.

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