The Cyber Innovation Center is in the process of designing a second building to be located within the National Cyber Research Park (NCRP). This multi-use collaborative facility is expected to be five stories and approximately 100,000 gross square feet. Initial plans include Class A office space, computer labs, classrooms and a Center for Creative Digital Media. The facility will be located at the northwest corner of Phase 1 within the NCRP.
The purpose of this new facility is two-fold. First, it will support the growing idemands of the Cyber Innovation Center and National Cyber Research Park. Second, it will serve as a physical location to foster collaboration among industry, government and academia by being a central location for training and workforce development. This new facility will allow academia and industry to leverage the facility to conduct new, innovative courses and state-of-the-art training programs while building a 21st Century workforce to support continued growth.
The new facility is estimated to cost between $25 million and $30 million. The Cyber Innovation Center is currently negotiating with potential tenants and will use these executed leases to obtain bond funding. “We look for this facility to further expand and develop the educational programs jointly developed by Louisiana Tech and the CIC. This will continue to set our region apart as leaders in cyber innovation and creativity with demonstrable success,” said Craig Spohn, Executive Director of the Cyber Innovation Center. “It is this success that multiple federal government agencies want to exploit and use as a model around the nation.”
Debt on those bonds would be paid down with lease revenue. The State of Louisiana plans to contribute $500,000 to design the new building and the Center for Creative Digital Media but requires a 25 percent match from the city. To support the effort, Bossier City has passed an ordinance that will allow the use of $166,667 in riverboat gaming money to cover this match. Bossier City will be reimbursed for its contributions through bonds sold to construct the digital media center.
“This facility will provide new opportunities for students of Bossier Parish Schools,” said G.B. Cazes, Director of the CIC’s Academic Outreach and Workforce Development Programs. The CIC has been working very closely with Bossier Parish Schools, Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC), and Louisiana Tech University to develop new and innovative courses for students. These courses integrate with informal education opportunities (i.e., Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit, Cyber Discovery, Shell Eco-Marathon) and dynamic professional development to create a new model in education. This model has been recognized nationally and is now being funded through numerous grants to ensure delivery of the Cyber Discovery Model nationwide. “By housing some of the new learning environments and 21st century classrooms in our new facility, every student in Bossier will have an opportunity to participate in engaging and challenging courses,” said Cazes.
In addition, BPCC will also be able to leverage the classrooms, labs and training facility in the new facility. The Cyber Innovation Center has been working with BPCC to design a new Technology Tract for Bossier students. High school juniors and seniors will be able to earn college level credit in the area of Digital Forensics, Web Design, Computer Programming, Networking and Cyber Security. These courses will not only map to BPCC’s Associate Degree in Cyber Information Technology but also nationally recognized industry certifications. “Students will have an opportunity to graduate high school with industry specific skills while jump starting their college careers,” said Cazes.
As the workforce of the future is learning new skills, industry will be developing new technologies in the same building just on another floor. By co-locating industry and academia, new partnership opportunities will emerge and create a bridge that not only connects students to future employers but also provides a context for the content they learn in the classroom.
The Center will also help bridge the gap between industries. Digital Media is not just for movies and entertainment but also Defense and Commercial sectors as well. By locating the Digital Media Center within the National Cyber Research Park, proximity to related companies and other cyber initiatives will create greater synergies for growth and expansion.