Cogentes relocates to Central State Hospital Campus grounds

July 1, 2013

Three leases approved for CSH buildings

Kyle Collins The Union-Recorder


Leasing requests for Central State Hospital’s Jones 286, Chapel No. 3 and Wilkes buildings were approved in last Thursday’s State Properties Commission (SPC) meeting chaired by Gov. Nathan Deal.

Three interested parties including Pastor Harold B. Simmons’ outreach ministry, technology and business consulting firm Cogentes and an analytical training laboratory (CAPS-ATL) will soon call CSH home.

“We should have the leases completed by the end of July, so folks can start rolling in there,” Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority (CSHLRA) executive director Mike Couch said.

The lease agreements will be built on a formula that gives the incoming entities credit for improving and investing in the buildings.

Couch said he is glad to see the state partner with the CSHLRA for increased activity.

“I’m really pleased as we work on terms that we are going to be able to get some constructive credits through job creation and investment in the buildings. That’s all good,” Couch said Monday.

• Church outreach

Simmons, on behalf of Anointed Teaching & Outreach Ministry Church, sent a letter of interest concerning Chapel No. 3 nearly one year ago. He admits it’s been a long process.

The excited pastor said the outreach ministry will “bring that vitality to the south side area through church services and different types of events.”

“Later down the road, the church will probably be offering some type of summer programs and things to help the less fortunate,” Simmons said.

Bringing the community back to the old hospital campus could open more development windows, according to Simmons.

He’s heard the naysayers, but is pleased to be a part of the new CSH vision.

“Overall, Milledgeville needs their hands on it, so they can make things happen in the community. There is going to be new energy. People are going to come into the area and look around the different buildings, which may give others ideas about what can take place out of the old Central State property,” Simmons said. “If we change our mindset about what Central State was to what it can be, I think we can make some great things happen out there. There are a lot of people waiting to see what happens to these properties. Others will come on board.”

Chapel No. 3 demands cosmetic work and a new heat pump unit, making the building independent of the old steam energy. With a new sign, Simmons said the facility would be ready for a church opening revival.

• Cogentes bringing tech partners

As for Jones 286, the 4,200 square foot building is nearly market ready minus some basic painting. Couch said Jones already has standalone utilities.

Cogentes president Tom Glover cherishes being “in the middle of” south side movement at Central State and close to the upcoming Shaw Building developments.

“As a strategic move for the company, I thought it was a good idea to be in the middle of that,” Glover said. “It makes a lot of sense for a business like ours to be where the future growth is going to be.”

The tech-savvy firm needed more space. Web designers Goebel Media Group are moving with Cogentes.

Glover said having the extra room at Jones 286 opens opportunities for other complementary business partners.

The convenient location is expected to boost the company’s bicycle business friendly status also. College interns will have easy bike routes to campus.

Glover said the big legal issues are over with the SPC go ahead.

“I appreciate the hard work that (Couch) and everybody else involved has done. I think we’ve had the entire community leadership trying to push this stuff through. I’m really anxious to get over there,” he said.

• STEM school coming

A former Drug Enforcement Administration laboratory director wants Milledgeville to become a hub for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. With CSHLRA help, Darrell Davis hopes to have the old Wilkes Building retrofitted for a laboratory program by next summer.

Couch said Wilkes will undergo an extensive redesign with subdivided office space and lab facilities.

Davis retired from the DEA in August 2012 and approached the CSHLRA representing his Committee for Action Program Services (CAPS) non-profit last September. CAPS is a science and technology organization that is located in Cedar Hill, Texas.

The primary objective of the organization is to provide professional development for K-12 science educators and encourage minority students to seek STEM career fields.

Over the last year, Davis started a new for-profit company called CAPS-Analytical Training Laboratory, LLC. He wants Central State to house a CAPS-ATL facility as part of the campus reuse efforts.

Davis hopes to encourage more underrepresented kids into the STEM field.

DEA and STEM grant support monies are available to build and conduct the local program. All funds go toward student training.

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