With a backdrop of state law enforcement officers and a gallery filled with state and local dignitaries, Gov. Nathan Deal signed an amended state budget that includes $50 million earmarked for the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center, set to be constructed at the very spot where the signing took place.
“It puts us on the forefront of an area where we know we’re going to continue to have needs, and that area is cybersecurity,” Deal said. “It will also, of course, give us the opportunity to have students who are interested in cybersecurity to come and be a part of this process, and Augusta University is going to be a vital part of it.”
Located adjacent to land on Augusta University’s Riverfront Campus, the 150,000-square-foot, state-owned facility, which is projected to be completed in 18 months, will stimulate innovation and provide research and educational opportunities for several state and local entities, including Augusta University’s Cyber Institute.
It will also bring together other elements of the cybersecurity field, including accelerator space for private companies, and it takes advantage of the growth in cyber activities at Fort Gordon, which is currently home to the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence, NSA Georgia and the relocation of U.S. Army Cyber Command.
Holding the bill signing at the site of the future innovation and training center is a clear indication of how important the project is to the governor, who took time to acknowledge what an advantage it is to the city of Augusta.
“I can assure you, almost every other community of this size would love to have this facility within their city limits,” he said. “You’re fortunate, I think, to have this, but it’s a natural fit, and it’s important to be in position to take advantage of those opportunities that come your way. This is certainly one of those opportunities.”
Mayor Hardie Davis agreed.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “Our star has risen. Augusta’s star has risen.”