A new name, a new logo and the start of a new building. Not a bad way to kick off a new year.
At a groundbreaking ceremony for the $35 million expansion of the newly named and logoed Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Center for Innovation and Training, Gov. Nathan Deal expounded on the economic value of the cyber center by answering a simple question: Why, even before cutting the ribbon on the 167,000-square-foot building he announced just days short of a year ago would he be back in Augusta to break ground for a second, almost identically sized building?
“Demand, demand, demand,” he said.
The announcement of the first building was so well received by the public and by private business community, Deal said, that adding a second building was an opportunity too good to pass up.
The new building, which is set to open at the end of 2018, will serve as an incubator hub for technology startups and offer training space for the state’s cybersecurity initiatives and workforce development programs.
The first building, which is expected to open in July, will house a variety of cyber-related companies and provide cyber research and educational opportunities for several state and local entities, including August University’s Cyber Institute and recently launched School of Computer and Cyber Sciences.
Deal stressed that the new cyber center will help the economy by providing job opportunities for young Georgians and by attracting others to the state.
“We’re going to have a lot of folks who are not Georgians right now who are going to become Georgians because this will be a unique opportunity,” he said. “And coupled with the leadership of Dr. Keel and Augusta University and the Augusta Technical College, they’re going to have opportunities for internships, for apprenticeships and for coop programs with the private sector community.”
According to Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis, that’s good news for the state and certainly good for the city.
“Our best days are not ahead of us,” he said. “Our best days are now.”