Boise-based Micron Technologies Inc., one of the largest producers of computer wafers and chips in the United States, announced Friday that Payson is on its "short list" of sites for expansion of the company.

If Utah is lucky enough to land this expansion, it will mean 3,500 jobs and many millions of dollars in annual payroll, according to officials in the Utah Department of Community and Economic Development. The company is looking at building an entire campus that would cost an estimated $1.5 billion.Department officials have been notified about Payson making the short list, and company officials were scheduled to make an announcement in Boise Friday morning.

Micron officials have been torn between expanding their Boise headquarters or relocating elsewhere, mainly because of the unavailability of workers, a department spokesman said. The company has looked at 285 sites in all parts of the country and is narrowing the list.

Joseph A. Jenkins, department executive director, said Payson and state officials have about three weeks to prepare a proposal for the company, extolling the virtues of locating in Payson and what incentives could possibly be available.

To make the short list, a site needed adequate electrical power and water resources. The second list will further amplify the power and water resources, but also the availability of employees and public and private incentives. Job training almost certainly will be a major factor, also.

So far, the state hasn't offered any incentives, but in addition to job training, Jenkins said Micron could apply for a loan from the Industrial Assistance Fund, the same fund that McDonnell Douglas borrowed from to move some facilities from California to its Salt Lake operation.

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Although company officials aren't being specific about a location in Payson for their operation, it would take more than 100 acres. The buildings would be constructed to exacting company specifications because of the necessity of a "clean" operation in which the wafers and chips are manufactured, Jenkins said.

Jenkins said the company needs an area close to technical support and it can get that because of Utah County's reputation as a high tech area. He said the company also needs to avoid vibrations from railroads, and there is a need to be close to a university (Brigham Young University).

Jenkins said Payson has almost everything the company needs.

"This is exciting and proves once again that Utah continues to get national recognition for high technology," Jenkins said.

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