Gov. Nathan Deal enters the governor's ceremonial office, where he ordered mandatory evacuations for all coastal residents east of Interstate 95, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in Savannah, Ga., as the National Hurricane Center placed all 100 miles of coastal Georgia under a hurricane warning ahead of Hurricane Matthew. Bob Andres AP
Gov. Nathan Deal enters the governor's ceremonial office, where he ordered mandatory evacuations for all coastal residents east of Interstate 95, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in Savannah, Ga., as the National Hurricane Center placed all 100 miles of coastal Georgia under a hurricane warning ahead of Hurricane Matthew. Bob Andres AP

Business

Gov. Deal announces expansion of cybersecurity complex

The Associated Press

December 03, 2017 08:34 AM

UPDATED December 03, 2017 08:35 AM

AUGUSTA, Ga.

The next phase of a multimillion-dollar cybersecurity training center taking shape in downtown Augusta is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal recently announced an additional $35 million in funding for the Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center.

The second building will be an incubator hub for technology startups and a training space for state cybersecurity initiatives and workforce development programs, The Augusta Chronicle reported .

The five-floor structure "will almost mirror the original building," said Calvin Rhodes, the state's chief information officer and the executive director of the Georgia Technology Authority.

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Both structures will share the center's 320-seat auditorium, he said.

"We're excited about this," Rhodes said. "This is just huge for the state."

Phase two will cover 165,000 square feet, and construction is scheduled to begin immediately. Phase one, being built now, is 167,000 square feet.

Phase two is expected to open in December 2018. Phase one is on track to open July 10, the Augusta newspaper reported.

Rhodes said there are no immediate plans for a third phase of the center, but he noted that phase two signals that "there's a vision that the need for cybersecurity is going to grow" and that there's a need in Augusta to support that.

"The protection of Georgia's citizens, businesses and institutions within the digital realm remains a paramount concern, and the demand for cybersecurity talent continues to exceed supply," Deal said in a statement. "This facility will encourage world-class collaboration between industry leaders, startup companies, academic institutions and government in the field of cybersecurity, and provide space for private sector entities to leverage the center's strategic resources."

Phase two will provide space "allowing technology companies to establish fellowships, internships and co-op program opportunities for students and employees," according to the governor's office. It will also be a training facility for information security professionals employed by state and local governments.

The center is aligned with Augusta University's Cyber Institute and the university's recently launched School of Computer and Cyber Sciences.