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Armstrong construction pends lawmaker action
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The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on Tuesday approved $4.75 million to construct the Armstrong Atlantic State University Hinesville Center.
The next step is for the Georgia General Assembly to review the regents’ fiscal year 2014 budget, on which the construction request is listed, according to Armstrong spokeswoman Emily Belford.
“We’re excited about seeing this happen for a number of reasons,” Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards said. “We will have a four-year University System of Georgia board institution in our community on a more permanent location, and it is also a great step to be taking in the Memorial Drive redevelopment effort.”
If approved, the state funds for the proposed 20,000-square-foot facility would be in the state’s fiscal-year 2014 budget, according to a board of regents document. That fiscal year begins July 1.
The piece is phase four of the Memorial Drive realignment project, and the city previously has spent $3.6 million in land acquisition and improvements to date.
An additional $1.4 million previously allocated will go toward the realignment of Central Avenue to connect with Welborn Street adjacent to Westside Baptist Church, Edwards said. The road work is slated to begin in late spring or summer of 2013, and it can happen concurrently with building construction.
The Armstrong campus likely would be located between Central Avenue and Memorial Drive. The current Liberty Center is in the Patriot Center Plaza on East Gen. Stewart Way.  
“AASU has a significant presence in Hinesville focused on outreach to Fort Stewart. A larger, more modern facility is needed to enhance program offerings,” said a Committee on Finance and Business Operations recommendation on the measure. “This facility would replace the smaller classroom facility located in a declining strip shopping center.”
Edwards said some details still need to be worked out between the city and the school, but his understanding is that the city will deed the land to the state so it can own and maintain the property.
Edwards said he does not anticipate any other local funding requirements for the school. 

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