Decision Approaches on $1 Billion NSA Facility

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When the National Security Agency (NSA) announced plans for a massive $1 billion data center in Utah last year, it got the full attention of the data center construction community. After whittling down a large list of interested vendors, a final award of the contract to build the facility is approaching.

The Federal Business Opportunities web site lists 366 contractors on its initial ”interested vendors list.” Several “vendor days” were held to outline the scope of the project. Last April the construction bidders list was cut to five, and a final award announcement is expected in September.

The Army Corps of Engineers has outlined the rough parameters of the project, including a 30-megawatt first phase featuring 100,000 square feet of data center space and 900,00 square feet for technical support and administrative space.

The estimated costs for this 1 million square foot facility now range from $1 billion to $1.9 billion. Construction has been broken into three phases, with the first phase resulting in  a data center with a 30 megawatt technical load, and including modular structural components. The 2010 defense budget describes the project as “required to provide a 30MW technical load data center and infrastructure for 65MW technical load data center capacity.”

The specifications for the site include power feeds from 2 substations, raised floor in 4 data halls with an average load density of 650 watts per square foot, and a capacity of 1.7 million gallons per day of water when at full load. Plans call for the facility to target a silver rating under the LEED ( Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program, a voluntary rating system for energy efficient buildings overseen by the US Green Building Council.

The Public Intelligence web site recently posted additional details about the NSA project, which included a conceptual data hall layout for the 100,000 square foot data center. 

The NSA will have some neighbors in the data center business. About 25 miles north will be a new Twitter data center, while an eBay  data center will be just up the road a few miles in South Jordan.

About the Author

John Rath is a veteran IT professional and regular contributor at Data Center Knowledge. He has served many roles in the data center, including support, system administration, web development and facility management.

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3 Comments

  1. Data Center

    this is a fantastic waste of money.... it doesnt cost anywhere near this to build a 30 MW data center (or data center phase). No doubt politics are prevailing over physics and engineering on this one... The contractor that gets selected better be careful, though. their usual "tricks of the trade" go from de rigeur to a Federal Crime on this job

  2. Gump Bea

    John, I thought the distance between NSA location and Twitter location to be about 4 miles. Do you know something us locals don't know?