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Marshall breaks ground on new cyber security center in Huntington | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Construction will soon begin on Marshall University’s Institute for Cyber Security facility in Huntington.

Brad Smith

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday afternoon at the corner of Hal Greer Boulevard and Fourth Avenue.

Officials from Marshall University, West Virginia University, the West Virginia National Guard, the Joint Force Headquarters – Department of Defense Information Network, a component of the United States Cyber Command, and other state and federal leaders were on hand to discuss the importance of the new building.

The project symbolizes the initial strides in establishing the National Center of Excellence for Cyber Security in Critical Infrastructure, hailed as the second center of its type in the country on a college campus. The other institution is the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Marshall President Brad Smith said it took a collaborative effort with multiple partners to get to this point.

“Protecting our networks, our data and our critical infrastructure in this environment is not just a necessity. It’s an imperative. It’s bigger than any one agency or institution could take on alone. That’s why it is so important to have strategic partnerships between industry, academia, the military and government,” Smith said during Friday’s ceremony.

Gordon Gee

Marshall is working with WVU and the military to establish the center. WVU President Gordon Gee said there’s no competition between the two universities in strengthening what West Virginia can offer to students studying cyber security.

“We’re going to be the front door to making certain that we as a nation are secure. We’re going to be the front door to making certain that our students who come here have a calling beyond just simply getting an education,” Gee said.

Craig Blair

The university received a $45 million grant from the state last year strictly for the construction of the facility. The bill was approved by lawmakers during a special session in Aug. 2023.

State Senate President Craig Blair (R-Berkeley) and House Speaker Roger Hanshaw (R-Clay) said the funding was critical to put West Virginia on the map.

“When we put $45 million into this, we know it’s going to be successful and it’s not just going to lift up Marshall University, it’s going to lift up this community,” Blair said.

“We did so that day because we recognize that cyber security and information technology will be where we as a state make our mark in the 21st century economy,” Hanshaw said.

House Speaker Roger Hanshaw

The center will be four stories and 90,000 square feet. The ground floor will include retail space for restaurants and other businesses. Floors two and three will be designated for academic use including the cybersecurity labs. The fourth floor will be leased to industry partners.

Shelley Moore Capito

Brig. Gen. Michael Cadle with the West Virginia National Guard said it’s important to involve the military.

“We think that we can add value and we can contribute to the research and the workforce development opportunities that the national center will bring,” Cadle said.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) was also on hand Friday and said it’s exciting to attract more students to Marshall from all over the country.

“It’s not just going to help West Virginians. Thís is going to be a regional and national magnet pull back to the state of West Virginia to do what we do best which is educate, inform and provide the next solid workforce but also the great Patriots for this country,” Capito said.

Construction is expected to be complete in the fall of 2026.


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National Cyber Security