The Georgia Cyber Center, a first of its kind collaborative cybersecurity center located in Augusta, Georgia, will open its doors on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, with a grand opening ceremony beginning at 8 p.m. The $100 million Cyber Center is the single largest investment in a cybersecurity facility by a state government to date, strengthening the state of Georgia’s position as a national leader in cybersecurity.
The Georgia Cyber Center is a unique public-private collaboration that includes Augusta University, Augusta Technical College, the University System of Georgia’s (USG) research institutions, the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), the City of Augusta, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), the Georgia Department of Defense and other state, federal and private-sector partners. These groups will not only work together to strengthen cyber defenses and combat the growing number and complexity of cyberattacks, but also to meet the increasing need for cybersecurity talent in the state’s and the nation’s workforce. In fact, the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide is expected to reach 3.5 million by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures Report, 2017 . The center will provide 21st century workforce training through certificate programs and undergraduate- and graduate-level degrees programs.
“The center will have a lasting impact on Augusta University,” said Brooks Keel, president of Augusta University. “It is making us a national leader in cyber training and education, and already is attracting talented students to Augusta who will in turn become highly trained cybersecurity professionals.”
Augusta Technical College will also offer courses in classrooms and cyber learning labs at the center. “We see the vision of where the Cyber Center will go as something that will help us develop a curriculum and create a workforce that will grow the economy in this region and the state,” said Terry Elam, president of Augusta Technical College.
The Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) is overseeing construction and partner coordination for the center. “The Georgia Cyber Center is the culmination of Governor Nathan Deal’s vision to position the state of Georgia as a national and world hub for cyber innovation and training,” said Calvin Rhodes, GTA executive director and state chief information officer. “Working with outstanding partners and supporters, we’ve been able to bring the vision to life in just 17 months.” 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 as the civil engineer.
The Hull McKnight Building will include many cutting-edge features and spaces:
- The Georgia Cyber Range will be available to students, industry and government professionals for education and training, product development, offensive and defensive competition and more.
- The GBI’s newly created Cyber Crime Unit will be housed in the building, allowing law enforcement professionals throughout the state to access the GBI’s expertise in digital forensics.
- Augusta University and Augusta Technical College will collaborate in a new partnership that places a USG school alongside a TCSG school, sharing classes and resources.
- theClubhou.se, an Augusta-based non-profit organization, will manage an incubator and accelerator program to foster innovation and entrepreneurship.
- Demonstration space will highlight cyber research taking place at USG institutions, including basic and applied research at Augusta University.
- Class A, build-to-suit private sector partner space is also available for lease to cybersecurity companies, with only 10,000 square feet remaining.
The grand opening ceremony will include remarks by Governor Nathan Deal; Congressman Rick Allen; Hardie Davis, Jr., Mayor, City of Augusta; William “Doug” D. Lewis, Chairman, Georgia Technology Authority Board of Directors; Tim Conway, President of Public Sector, NTT DATA Services; Brigadier General William J. Hartman, Deputy Commanding General, Joint Force Headquarters – Cyber (JFHQ-C), U.S. Army Cyber Command; and Chris Riley, Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor.
At the conclusion of the grand opening ceremony, guests will be invited to tour the building. The Virtual World, Cyber Range, 340-seat auditorium, theClubhou.se technology incubator space, the rooftop terrace, various cyber learning labs and more will be seen by an anticipated 1,000 guests. There also will be a Capture the Flag event hosted in the Virtual World for visitors to view a cyber learning exercise firsthand.
The Hull McKnight Building is named for James M. Hull and William D. McKnight, Augusta businessmen and philanthropists who envisioned a cyber facility to enrich the local workforce and support the relocation of the U.S. Army Cyber Command to Fort Gordon. At completion, the Georgia Cyber Center will consist of two buildings totaling 332,000 square feet. The second building, which broke ground in January, is expected to open in December 2018.