$1.1 million grant to open new doors for GSU and Statesboro

Lauren Gorla


Georgia Southern University and the city of Statesboro have been awarded a $1.1 million grant to expand City Campus in the downtown area, according to a news release.

“This is a golden opportunity to help new businesses in our community, generate new jobs and put more people to work,” Brooks Keel, Ph.D., president of GSU, said in the release. “City Campus can be a catalyst for economic change in our region.”

The grant was awarded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration to help entrepreneurs design, build and send their products into the market place while also creating new jobs, according to the release.

With this grant, GSU and Statesboro will be able to work together to renovate two buildings downtown that will eventually house an innovation incubator with full business incubation capabilities and a fabrication laboratory, Charles Patterson, Ph.D., vice president for research and economic development, said in the release.

The facility will include office space and also a planned space for a fabrication lab with 3-D printing capabilities.

“As an emerging research university, we find that many of our faculty and students are engaged in activities of entrepreneurial nature, creating technologies, devices and inventions that a university of our size and magnitude has the ability to license, patent and protect,” Patterson said in the release.

The city of Statesboro put forward $800,000 in addition to the grant to purchase the Yard and Haus building from Farmers and Merchants Bank and the City Campus building from the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority, according to the release.

The city council also agreed to commit $50,000 annually for three years to help cover operational fees at the facility.

“We feel the collaboration with Georgia Southern through the City Campus is important to the continued improvement of downtown Statesboro.  These investments in our city will undoubtedly pay off many times over as we move forward,” Joe Brannen, former mayor of Statesboro, said in the release.

In total, the expansion will cost $1.8 million. Once finished, the facility will hold the Bureau for Business Research and Economic Development, the Statesboro office of the Small Business Development Center and the University’s Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership, according to the release.

John Barrow, U.S. Representative, attended the announcement ceremony last Thursday at City Campus.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the small business owners who are going to find the resources here that they need to compete and to grow,” Barrow said in the release. “It’s going to be a huge opportunity for Georgia Southern to break out and be a leader in business development.”