In partnership with the City, Troy University will build a four-story, $8.6 million academic building on the riverfront in downtown Phenix City. Local officials hope the project will serve as a catalyst for continued revitalization in the area.
Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor of Troy University, called the project the result of a shared vision between the City and the University.
"This is not just about a building," Dr. Hawkins said. "It's about a partnership, it's about progress and it's about revitalization."
Phenix City Mayor Sonny Coulter said the project marked the realization of a long-held dream for the city.
"Today is one of those days that all of the people in Phenix City, Columbus and the surrounding area have dreamed about for the last 20 years," Coulter said. "We are thankful to have the relationship we have with TROY. We signed this partnership to move Phenix City foward in economic development and revitilization."
Phenix City has invested $4.9 million in the project, including the donation of the riverfront property where the building will be located. The planned 40,000 square foot building will house classrooms for the Sorrell College of Business, as well as offices for the Center for International Business and Economic Development and a Water Resources Research Center.
A planned second phase of the project will add another 40,000 square feet to the building, Dr. Hawkins said.
State Sen. Gerald Dial, president pro tem of the TROY Board of Trustees said the project would have a lasting impact on the area.
"We have planted a seed in this community that will serve as a foundation for growth for years to come," Sen. Dial said.
State Rep. Lesley Vance said the project would create new educational opportunities for citizens in the region.
"Today, Phenix City and TROY have taken a great leap toward bringing a new face to education in this city," he said.
The building will mark the start of new development along the riverfront in Phenix City, said Mike Gaymon, president of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce.
"This building is going to change the dynamic of this region," Gaymon said.