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Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center Celebrates Topping Out

November 17, 2017

The state’s $60 million Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center reached a major construction milestone on November 16 with a celebration to top out the structure. After less than five months, New South Construction has completed erecting the mid-rise building’s steel beams and the facility is on track to open in mid-July 2018. The Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) is overseeing construction and operation of the center.

For several weeks prior to the topping out, partners and the local community were invited to sign the final beam for posterity.  The beam features more than 150 signatures. Raised on the site for the ceremony will be an American flag and a Georgia state flag, both of which were flown over the State Capitol on October 1, the first day of National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

The 167,000-square-foot center is designed to promote modernization in cybersecurity technology through education, training, research and practical applications. The center, which will enhance cybersecurity in both public and private sectors, will also house an incubator for start-up cybersecurity companies and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s new cybercrime unit.

“To top out the structure in just over four months is a testament to the professionalism and expertise of our design and construction partners,” said Calvin Rhodes, chief information officer for the state of Georgia and GTA executive director. “We are on a fast track to meet our July 2018 opening date, and it’s clear this team will make it happen.”

Design and construction partners include: Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) as the construction project management team, M. Arthur Gensler Jr. and Associates as the architect, New South Construction as the general contractor, and Cranston Engineering Group handling the engineering work. A camera installed on the site captures daily construction progress and a time-lapse video.

Once open, the Georgia Cyber Center will include education and training programs focused on preparing the next generation of professionals to protect the nation from cyber threats. The center is aligned with Augusta University’s Cyber Institute and recently launched School of Computer and Cyber Sciences.

“We’re appreciative to Gov. Nathan Deal, James M. Hull and William D. McKnight for their investment in Augusta. With hands-on research and internship opportunities not found anywhere else, this world-class facility will help revolutionize cybersecurity education and bolster Georgia and Augusta’s status as a leading hub for cybersecurity innovation,” said Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD. “Students and faculty in both our Cyber Institute and School of Computer and Cyber Sciences will now have the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with the departments of industry and defense, state cybersecurity professionals and tech startups, as we work to educate and train the next generation of cyber professionals.”

Building a skilled workforce is also an emphasis for Cyber Center partner Augusta Technical College, where 14 percent of the school’s 6,000 students are pursuing cyber and related IT programs. “The Georgia Cyber Center will help to meet the needs of employers as we help students meet their career goals,” said Terry Elam, president of Augusta Technical College. “That’s a partnership that works for everyone.”

Other partners in the center include City of Augusta, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, University System of Georgia and Technical College System of Georgia.