ISU Trustees approve Trail East Incubator

Illinois State University’s governing board Friday also approved a Masters degree program in Computer Science; contracts for property insurance, solid waste management, fire services, and foundation services. (Neil Doyle/WJBC)


By Neil Doyle

NORMAL – Illinois State University has agreed to rent space in the yet-to-be constructed Trail East building in Uptown Normal for a small business incubator.

ISU’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously Friday to pay up to $840,000, or $14,000 a month for the first five years, to developer Bush Construction Company.  ISU will also be responsible for operational costs, estimated at $110,00 a year. The university intends to seek grant money to help with funding.

The incubator will be housed in 10,418 square feet of space which will include classrooms, event space, and conference rooms. Entrepreneurs will have access to low-cost office space in the incubator, and receive mentoring.  ISU students will also have internship opportunities.

“It’s just a terrific opportunity for us to move into some new space and provide it to entrepreneurs to see what happens in that process,” said ISU President Larry Dietz. “It also allows us to showcase the university and our faculty and their willingness to mentor young entrepreneurs.”

“I think in five years we’ll be glad that we did this and we’ll find it to be self sustaining,” he added.

The incubator will open in late 2020 or early 2021.

The governing board also approved a $1.1 million data storage upgrade. The upgrade will help storage capacity inside campus data centers to accommodate students, faculty, and staff.

Neil Doyle can be reached at


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