Columbus' old National Guard Armory on Macon Road is now Columbus' new Georgia Public Safety Training Center, which officially opened Thursday after a $300,000 renovation.
Hosted by Columbus State University, the training center previously was housed in an annex to CSU's Turner Center for Continuing Education, but city and university leaders saw a chance to gain a more spacious facility when the armory moved to Fort Benning and the federal government offered the surplus property for an educational purpose.
The city applied to repurpose the building in 2007, and negotiated through a long review process to get it. The property finally was turned over last year.
It has three times the space of the old campus facility, which will be remodeled as CSU's ROTC center.
The training center teaches students the skills they need to become front-line law enforcement officers, typically running 32 trainees through an 11-week course.
It now has the capacity to train double that number.
City and university officials praised the new center as a valuable addition to nearby public investments such as the Muscogee County School District headquarters, the library, the natatorium and the City Services Center across the street.