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Mill campuses are 'city effort,' Azziz says

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 7:16 PM
Last updated Wednesday, May 1, 2013 2:27 PM
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While he calls the early plans to convert former Augusta mills into campuses for Georgia Regents University a potential “game-changer,” President Ricardo Azziz said it is still a “city effort” that the university is not ready yet to invest in.

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver, a proponent of the mills campuses, said it will be up to the city to get a detailed plan together to present to the University System of Georgia Board of Regents but he is encouraged there is interest in the project.

In his first presidential address since Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities consolidated into GRU, Azziz referenced a plan by city leaders to convert two former textile mills into expansion campuses.

“While there is much study yet to be done, it is truly exciting and potentially a game-changer for the city of Augusta and for this university,” Azziz said. A campus planner is working with the university to look at the potential there, he said. But the university cannot fund the development, Azziz said.

“It has a lot to do with the finances,” he said. “The university does not have the resources to make that happen unless the city itself commits to helping do that. This is a city effort and we are certainly trying to be as helpful as we can be but this is not our effort at this point.”

Copenhaver said he was encouraged by the commitment of a campus planner to the potentially enormous project.

“This is a big deal, and it took us four months to get to the point where it was well-formed enough to get out there into the general public,” he said.

“There’s still a tremendous amount of due diligence and work to be done but I take it as a good sign.”

The city must put more detail with the plans going forward, Copenhaver said.

“We’ve had engineers in town, architects, we’re building out the financial modeling,” he said. “We have to go through the thorough due diligence process. We’ve done a tremendous amount of that to this point. There is still more to be done. But I believe that this will end up being a win for the state, the city and the university system and the university itself.”

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countyman
21283
Points
countyman 04/30/13 - 11:26 pm
4
1
Augusta= bright future

The $100 million cancer research building, and the Cultural/Mills campuses will bring the type of growth never seen before in Augusta. New residential, higher quality restaurants and retail, increased tax base, additional money to fund law enforcement/schools/roads, white collar office jobs in downtown/West Augusta, high paying manufacturing/aerospace jobs in South Augusta, tons of new transplants, increased diversity, etc.

The city, non profits, GRU, and local/statewide philanthropist can easily make this happen.

The success of Augusta depends on the success of the new university.

Riverman1
90290
Points
Riverman1 05/01/13 - 07:30 am
4
1
What More From County?

What more does Azziz want from the county? The county is going to donate the land. It seems to me the state should take care of the rest.

MrClen1944
326
Points
MrClen1944 05/01/13 - 07:59 am
0
3
But, will we

be COOL????

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 05/01/13 - 08:36 am
0
2
I thought the Cancer research

I thought the Cancer research was a $50 million project? Maybe I'm mistaken. I did want to know how far along that has come now. I remember before the merger, this was a deciding factor for me on supporting the merge. Now that everyone has come back down to Earth, I just want to feel like I made a good decision. CMan, do you have any knowledge of ground-breaking or a time-table on the Cancer Research? and is it 100 or 50 mil?

I knew I remembered the dollar amount was $50 mil. Here's the info from ACH:

"Updates to a master facilities plan that takes into account important new pieces, such as creating the state’s second National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center will also be completed. The Board of Regents voted in 2012 to include $45 million in bond funding for the project in its fiscal year 2014 budget request."

So 2 questions remain, how much and how long after the 2014 fiscal budget allocation will it be before ground-breaking?

my.voice
5080
Points
my.voice 05/01/13 - 09:31 am
0
2
Hey Azziz, Theres going to be

Hey Azziz, Theres going to be a BUS STOP.

NOW how do you feel about it?

OJP
7448
Points
OJP 05/01/13 - 09:45 am
1
1
This idea actually seems to be a good one.

Were I looking into relocating for medical school, a loft apartment in a renovated Civil War-era mill right next to a river, a canal, a pond (let's be honest), and multiple outdoor trails; and a short bike/bus/water taxi ride from campus and downtown, would be very appealing.

triscuit
3216
Points
triscuit 05/01/13 - 09:52 am
0
2
We’ve had engineers "in town," architects,

Ever occur to you Mr. Mayor/Commission/anyone to use LOCAL talent/companies for this? Would be nice for Augusta companies to actually benefit from projects such as these, rather than Atlanta /out of state firms. ya know, help the citizens of this area, who's tax money will support it, actually make a living??

countyman
21283
Points
countyman 05/01/13 - 10:39 am
2
2
Great proposal

The city would be getting rid of two vacant mill properties, helping renovate the Miller, creating a new performing arts center, open the new Artspace building, etc.. The King and Sibley Milll are underused properties, and their doing nothing for Augusta at the moment.

It's similar to the city taking the initiative to demolish Gilbert Manor, and getting the $112 million dental school/$76 million Medical Commons in return.

This will definitely help make Augusta cooler in the future. The number of younger people moving here will increase, and we can finally keep the majority of the future leaders from moving to Atlanta, Charlotte, etc.

The total cost of the cancer research building/cross walk over 15th is $100 million. The $45 million is only the amount included in the 2014 budget. The school is receiving $20 million from an cancer patient, and the rest will come from the private sector. The cancer building is suppose to break ground at the end of 2013. Governor Deal will be here in Augusta on May 7th to sign the 2014 budget at GRU.

Augusta projects in the 2014 budget:
1. $45 million for the new cancer research building
2. $10 million for cancer research
3. $4.6 million for other initiatives inlcuding enrollment growth at the Dental school
4. $5 million for the Medical Commons new equipment

Little Lamb
47897
Points
Little Lamb 05/01/13 - 12:57 pm
2
1
Nothing

Nothing in the budget for the Summerville campus?

Rob Pavey
552
Points
Rob Pavey 05/01/13 - 02:22 pm
3
0
countyman, I'm not sure it's fair to say.....

I'm not sure it's fair to say the mills do nothing for Augusta - and neither mill is owned by the city. Both are owned by the Augusta Canal Authority (created by Georgia Legislature). King Mill was bought in 2001 and leased to Standard Textile, which continues to operate the mill and provide jobs. Sibley is vacant, but both mills continue to generate hydropower that provides a big chunk of the Canal National Heritage Area budget. Underused is right on target, though, and it will be interesting to see how the university campus idea unfolds.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 05/01/13 - 02:59 pm
1
0
thanks CMan. I would point

thanks CMan. I would point-out that GRU is who you need to be courting on this. The public opinion won't be what makes or breaks this, as we have seen demonstrated by those "in command". It's the school that has veto power no?

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 05/01/13 - 04:21 pm
0
0
I see
Unpublished

the azziz express is still in forward motion.

Gage Creed
18814
Points
Gage Creed 05/01/13 - 06:03 pm
2
0
“It has a lot to do with the

“It has a lot to do with the finances,” he said. “The university does not have the resources to make that happen unless the city itself commits to helping do that."

Translation Please.... I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

badmoon426
1187
Points
badmoon426 06/12/13 - 02:37 pm
0
0
I also believe...

...the mills will require HAZMAT remediation. Nice to know your potential development site is a environmental mess.

Also this is a state issue (Board of Regents) not a city county issue. The funding comes from Atlanta not Augusta trying to pawn off another gentrification project.

badmoon426
1187
Points
badmoon426 06/12/13 - 02:40 pm
0
0
Renovate or Expand...

...that is the question, not.

Also with all the surplus space from combining old MCG and ASU together it will probably take them 3 to 5 years just to figure out what facilities they need to demolish, renovate and/or expand.

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