Governor Deal signs amended budget, approves funding for downtown cyber center

AUGUSTA (WJBF) — Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed the amended budget for 2017 in Augusta on Wednesday.

It includes $50 million for a cyber security training facility in downtown Augusta.
The Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center will be built on the old Golf and Gardens property on Reynolds Street.
The amended budget was created to include things that were not covered in the 2017 general budget.
“One of our investments, and it is a major investment, is $50 million, which is included in this budget to establish the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center. And it’s going to be built, right here where we are today,” the governor said during Wednesday signing event.
The facility will be managed by Augusta University, but many state and federal agencies will be involved with it.
Private companies will also be welcome.
“This will not only be a training and innovation center to train people to have those skills, but it will also be an incubator for businesses that want to get a start in this arena,” Deal said.
The governor expects work on the project to get started as soon as possible because the funding is straight cash.
AU is already planning to move its cyber program to the building, which will have plenty of classrooms and a large auditorium.
“This will become a major campus for us. We always hoped that it would be. And the transportation that we will have to move the students back and forth between Health Sciences and Summerville, will start to bring even more people to this part of town,” university president Dr. Brooks Keel said.

Keel says there are plans to construct other buildings near the cyber center, which means more growth for downtown Augusta.

“We are literally steps away from the upper end of Broad Street with all the incredible development that has happened there. The retail and restaurants and those types of things,” Keel said.
“When you have the student population associated with it, it’s going to be a great thing for downtown Augusta,” the governor said.
The governor says he does not know of any other state doing a project like this.
Once construction starts, it will take 18 months to build, which means the cyber center should be finished by the end of 2018.

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