Augusta University President Talks Mills Campus, Downtown

Sibley and King Mills in downtown Augusta.

AUGUSTA — Augusta University is trying to make the school a better place for students to live, work and play.

It’s no secret that School President Dr. Brooks Keel has big plans for AU.

Since he took over, we’ve seen comprehensive changes in the way the school functions, including a much-needed name change

Next week, Augusta University will celebrate the inauguration of Keel, but this week, he was already speaking to a crowd about his excitement for the future.

“We are really poised for a tsunami of things that are going to be coming to Augusta in the wake of Cyber Command coming to Fort Gordon,” Keel said.

With a cyber security program and plans to move the math and sciences building from the Summerville Campus to the Health Sciences one, Keel says downtown is the focus for AU.

“Downtown Augusta has already exploded, especially since I lived here. There are really a lot of neat pubs and restaurants and bars and things in downtown Augusta. That’s the kind of environment that people want to live near and work near,” Keel said.

There’s talk of more partnerships with University Hospital.

Keel also says he would like to create a “Cyber Village” starting at the Sibley and King Mills and ending at the Golf and Gardens property on Reynolds Street.

“Not only increasing our educational space, but also increasing our research space and using it as a chance for business and industry to be there. Creating a whole campus that’s associated with all things digital,” Keel said.

Keel says his vision for this plan is for students to be able to get into a kayak and head down the Augusta Canal to downtown Augusta to have lunch or dinner.

But the school leader says AU will need more residence halls to get more students in the Garden City.

He’d like to see about 1,500 beds total.

Right now, construction is underway on 750 beds on 15th Street.

Keel says because of this, Walton Way will see growth.

“It will allow us to put this undergraduates right in the middle of all the white coats. They can rub elbows, not only with the clinical faculty, but the medical and dental students,” Keel said.

Next week is Augusta University Inauguration Week.

Events are planned all week long.

Keel’s ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, April 27th at 2pm at the Augusta Convention Center.

Governor Nathan Deal and several other state and local officials will be there.

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