Phenix City could get new business school next year

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - Construction on a new business school along the banks of the Chattahoochee River in Phenix City may take a little longer than expected or Troy University needs to raise more money to build it.

About 4 years ago, housing units on Phenix City's river front were torn down to make way for a new 30,000 square foot school of business for Troy University.  Today, that land still sits empty.

Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins says they are still lacking about $1.5 million of the $9 million needed to start construction on the project.

"I think we would have crossed the finish line months ago as far as being able to generate the resources necessary to make this project a reality had this economy not turned such a southerly direction," said Hawkins.

Originally, Phenix City's Downtown Re-Development Authority gave this land to the University for the facility, but a clause in the contract says if construction has not started on the school by the end of this year, then the land goes back to the city.

However, on Monday, Phenix City Council agreed to extend the deadline.

"The Chancellor told us here today is that within 6 months Troy is going to be ready to announce a groundbreaking on the new building, and I'll tell you those are the words we've been waiting to hear for a long, long time," said Phenix City Mayor Sonny Coulter.

Coulter says the school of business will be a catalyst for economic development.

"We are having other investors come to us and say, 'Tell us what's going on with Troy because once they start building their building, we want to do something along the river ourselves in Phenix City.'"

The mayor says even though the project has taken longer than expected, he trusts the Chancellor's word that groundbreaking will be next year.

"When this man tells you it's going to happen.  It's going to happen."

The Chancellor says Troy University is committed to this project.  He explains once they can start construction, the new school of business may take more than a year to finish.  It will house classes like risk management as well as offer professional development courses.

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