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'Cyber Command' plans take shape at Fort Gordon

Feb. 7, 2014 - 09:27AM   |  
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AUGUSTA, GA. — The Army’s latest Cyber Command projections show that building a new headquarters on Fort Gordon will cost more than $225 million in construction and renovations, which officials said could include expanding parts of the National Security Agency’s complex.

Fort Gordon spokesman J.C. Mathews confirmed this week that there is a proposal to build onto the John Whitelaw Building — as it is commonly called by the NSA — to house elements of the Army Cyber Command’s new headquarters.

Potential new construction has been set at $170 million.

If approved, the project would be in addition to $56 million worth of renovations planned for a Cyber Command that will include a central headquarters, a center of excellence, additional Army intelligence units and growth to existing Navy and Air Force operations.

By 2019, the Cyber Command is projected to add 2,600 military, 900 civilian and 200 contractor jobs to the Army post’s workforce. The Cyber Center of Excellence will boost the post’s student population by about 500 service members annually, figures show.

In all, the estimated growth will result in 5,620 military, civilian and contractor family members moving to the Augusta area, based on Army modeling projections.

The total includes 2,150 spouses and 1,800 children, two areas of growth that officials believe will greatly raise the demand for off-post housing and schools.

“Other than a very small number of houses to accommodate senior personnel assigned to these elements, there is no additional housing construction planned for the installation,” Mathews said. “Virtually all these new personnel will reside in the local community, and since no additional housing will be built on the fort, it is likely that virtually all school-age children will attend schools in the off-post community.”

The lack of additional on-post housing has led a Philadelphia-based education consultant to suggest to the Richmond County Board of Education that it authorize a new K-8 school for the west Augusta area. Consultant Bill Montgomery said the school would accommodate the expected growth from the Cyber Command and support a population shift to west Augusta over the past decade. Montgomery said that there is also new construction in that area and that more building permits have been pulled for two-and three-bedroom apartment complexes.

The timeline for the new K-8 school is unclear, because the Richmond County system would use money from the next phase of special purpose local option sales tax to pay for it.

All the new schools and renovations in the past 10 years have used the tax money.

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