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Youth ChalleNGe Academy plans GMC partnership

Youth ChalleNGe Academy plans GMC partnership
by Kyle Collins. Union Recorder

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program (NGYCP) will soon be a viable part of Central State Hospital's redevelopment future.

Gov. Nathan Deal announced the project Aug. 15, saying an application to the United States Department of Defense for a third Georgia National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Academy (YCA) in Milledgeville was en route. Fort Stewart near Savannah and Fort Gordon in Augusta house the other YCAs.

The National Guard is evaluating CSH's Boland building to house the newest YCA.

Deputy Adjutant General George "Russel" Carlson of the Georgia Department of Defense said the CSH property has ample housing and educational room, as well as space for group activity.

“From a security standpoint, we can keep everyone contained but also giving a little room to spread out,” he said.

The Department of Behavioral Health and Development Disabilities (DBHDD0) agreed to release furnishings for the Boland building that spans 120,000 square feet, Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Mike Couch said.

“It's configured fairly well for what they want to do,” Couch said. “(The National Guard) has been through it with their engineers looking at where they'd put buildings, classrooms and the cafeteria.”

If the project passes the federal funding test, the U.S. Department of Defense provides 75 percent of the cost after startup with the state kicking in the remainder. The State Properties Commission is aware of the impending Boland property transfer.

“Our goal locally is for us to have any items of information or letters of support to the Guard in September saying to go ahead and submit their application to the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C.,” Couch said.