Augusta University creates cyber school, to move program to downtown

AUGUSTA (WJBF) — Augusta University President Dr. Brooks Keel announced the creation of a new school of Computer and Cyber Sciences on Thursday.

The school is set to launch next month, but will move to the Cyber Innovation and Training Center when it’s finished next year.

“When the Governor invested the resources he did into this school, it really upped the game quite a bit for the whole state in a major way and we felt needed to up our game, to bring our A-game, in terms of providing the type of education that the Innovation Center is going to allow us to do,” Keel said.

The new school will allow students to study the behavior of cyber criminals, learn how to keep health information secure and analyze data, all in the same place where cyber security companies are operating.

“Our students will be able to walk out of the classroom, go across the hall to do an internship, not get in their car and go somewhere else,” Keel added.

Keel says AU is already getting interest from companies who want to be a part of the cyber growth in downtown Augusta.

“This first building that the governor has invested in, I really see as Phase 1. There are opportunities. We’ve loosely master-planned that 17 acres where we can put at least two or three additional buildings of that size on that particular plot of land,” he said.

Savannah River National Laboratory is getting ahead of the expected growth as it announced it will provide $200,000 to create a new faculty position at AU focusing on cyber security.

“We do research for over 20 government agencies. So each of those has an interest and footprint in cyber,” Savannah River National Lab Director Terry Michalske said.

Keel continues to call the area a “digital village” saying it will only add to the revitalization of downtown.

“The local business community is seeing dirt being moved, steel coming out of the ground, seeing these relationships we’re establishing. I think it’s going to make them say, wow, we have a chance to develop things around,” Keel said.

Augusta University recently announced it signed a major lease for the old Wells Fargo building on Broad Street.

Keel says it will mostly be used as office space, but says it definitely fits into his goal for Augusta University to be invested in downtown Augusta.

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