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Utah firm to work on NSA data center

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah construction company is part of a consortium awarded a $1.2 billion contract to build a data center at Camp Williams for U.S. intelligence agencies.

Salt Lake City-based Big-D Construction will partner with Dallas-based Balfour Beatty and DPR Construction Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., to build the 1.5 million-square-foot facility for the National Security Agency. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the selection on Friday.

The data center will occupy 200 acres at Camp Williams at the south end of the Salt Lake Valley. Construction of the data center is expected to be completed by June 2012.

Executives from Big-D, which has been operating in Utah for 42 years, could not be reached for comment Friday. Two other Salt Lake City-area firms were also bidders on the project.

Spencer Eccles, executive director of the governor's Office of Economic Development, said the project was estimated to have 7,000 to 10,000 workers and could not have come at a better time, as other large projects in the area are winding down.

The partnership between Big-D and large national construction firms is likely to yield dividends for Utah for years to come, Eccles added.

"This will elevate Big-D's game, and it will also extend to the subcontractors," he said. "Besides creating jobs in the here and now, what they learn doing this job will raise everybody's games. It will open up opportunities when other projects start up, even in other states."

During the bidding process, Utah's Procurement Training Assistance Center, part of the state's economic development office, helped organize meetings between the Army Corps of Engineers, contractors and subcontractors. Eccles said he expects another outreach meeting with the winning contractors.

"Now we go from what if to the real thing," he said. "We'll help companies small and large navigate the government contract process."

According to a news release, center plans include a 100,000 square feet of computer space, where the intelligence agencies will collect data for use by the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to protect national security networks and issue warnings about cyber-security threats.

The computer center will be surrounded by more than 900,000 square feet of technical support and administrative space.