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Construction of NSA data center will bring boost to Utah economy



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SALT LAKE COUNTY -- The National Security Agency has chosen Utah, more specifically Camp Williams, as the place to build a new data center.

Apparently, it's been in the works for years. President Barack Obama has now signed a bill in which Congress agrees to pay several million dollars toward the center.

The facility is going to be huge, easily one of the largest construction projects in the state's history. Now that word is getting out, it's all the talk among construction companies.

The data center is estimated to be 1 million square feet, sitting on 200-acres, and it couldn't come at a better time for Utah's economy.

"It makes every construction company excited about the possibility for new work," said Alan Rindlisbacher, director of marketing for Layton Construction.

Layton Construction is one contracting company hoping to get in on the action.

"This would truly be a project that would jump-start the economy in the state of Utah and create lots of opportunities," Rindlisbacher said.

It would also create a lot of jobs. According to economist James Wood with the David Eccles School of Business, Utah needs this.

"It will really have an enormous impact, and it couldn't come at a better time," Wood said.

He says Utah is expected to lose 30,000 construction jobs by 2010, but this new project would help.

"It's a project of $1.6 billion to $2 billion in construction. It's equivalent to what's going on downtown with the City Creek [project]," Wood said.

So, what service will the new data center provide? The NSA would only tell us this: "A data center is a specialized facility that houses computer systems and supporting equipment."

But we know the NSA's job is to keep the nation safe against terror at home and abroad. The agency makes and breaks codes and feeds information to U.S. decision makers and military leaders, and much of their work is confidential.

"It's caught everyone's attention for sure," Rindlisbacher said.

Even Congressman Jason Chaffetz is excited. From Washington he told KSL News: "It's a benefit to our economy and our national security."

Over the next few months the NSA's project management team will begin the design phase of the data center, and eventually a developer will be selected.

E-mail: abutterfield@ksl.com

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Amanda Butterfield

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