RSU to Close Innovation Center

Rogers State University will cease funding for its Innovation Center next fiscal year as a cost-savings measure as the university concentrates on core, student-focused programs and operations.

The closure comes in preparation for next year’s expected $611 million state budget shortfall, which will have significant consequences for all state agencies. Ceasing Innovation Center operations is expected to save RSU more than $227,000 annually.

University officials are working with the Innovation Center’s five employees to find jobs either within the university or in the community. The university also is working with the companies within the Innovation Center’s business incubator program to provide time to relocate operations.

This spring, RSU established a campus-wide budget committee to review the university’s fiscal operations and to set fiscal priorities for the coming year. The budget committee unanimously recommended that the university’s administration should close the Innovation Center as the university focuses on core operations.

“Closing the Innovation Center was a difficult decision and was not reached lightly,” said RSU President Dr. Larry Rice. “This was a decision deemed necessary so we can focus on academics and programs that directly impact our students in these tight financial times for state agencies.”

RSU students and faculty will continue to be engaged with area business and industry through internships and other programs that are not part of the Innovation Center’s operations.

The RSU Innovation Center was established in 2002 to provide small business support and grow start-up companies. The center is housed in a 7,000-square-foot facility that was constructed in 2004. The university intends to utilize the space for existing campus needs.

In recent years, RSU has taken numerous efforts to cut costs and concentrate on core operations, including closing the child development center, spinning off the Bit by Bit Therapeutic Riding Center to independent management, outsourcing functions such as janitorial and food services, and implementing a campus-wide series of energy-saving measures.