Speedy Timetable for Microsoft Iowa Project

For Microsoft Global Foundation Services, it’s “Make A Governor Happy Week.” On Monday Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire celebrated Microsoft’s expansion project in Quincy, Wash. Today Iowa Gov. Chet Culver officially confirmed that Microsoft will move forward with the construction of a $100 million data center in West Des Moines.

The Iowa data center will use Microsoft’s new modular data center design, and is expected to be operational in spring 2011, meaning a construction timetable of less than a year for the project. Microsoft last week confirmed its intention to build in Iowa, but didn’t indicate when it would begin construction. The company has shortened its construction window with a more lightweight design that aims to slash its project costs by 50 percent. The facility will significantly reduce water, power and carbon wastes associated with traditional data center facilities.

The Iowa Economic Development Board approved an award to Microsoft that will prove tax benefits from the High Quality Jobs program for the creation of 25 jobs, with an average wage plus benefits of $31.04 per hour.

“We’re continuing efforts to recruit the top companies in the world to Iowa, and Microsoft fits the bill,” Governor Culver said. ““This project means more good-paying jobs of the future for Iowans. Good jobs like these are magnets for other companies and for families who are looking for a great environment.”

“We are grateful for the hard work Iowa’s state government and local officials in West Des Moines have completed to offer a competitive business climate for datacenter investments, and we are excited to be able to continue our investments in this region to enable the delivery of our services in the best business way for our customers,” said Kevin Timmons, General Manager of Datacenter Operations at Microsoft.

The West Des Moines project was announced in August 2008, but Microsoft never outlined a firm construction timetable. After the economic crisis took hold in the fall of 2008, Microsoft put the project on hold as it said it would reduce its investment in its data center expansion, citing the economic slowdown and the need to cut expenses.

“This project will not only bring jobs and investment to the area, but will continue to encourage the positive growth of economic development for the region,” said Steven Gaer, Mayor of West Des Moines. “We are energized and excited to welcome Microsoft’s first datacenter in Iowa and look forward to a strong future with the company.”

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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