5 construction teams competing to build $1.7B Utah data center for nation’s intel agencies

By Paul Foy, AP
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gov’t whittles bidders for NSA’s Utah data center

SALT LAKE CITY — Five construction teams are on a short list in a competition to build a $1.7 billion electronic data center at Utah’s Camp Williams for the nation’s most secretive spy service, executives from the bidders said Wednesday.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers narrowed a field of a more than a dozen bidders in a qualification round. Each bidder is a team of multiple construction and engineering companies.

A contract expected to be awarded in September will require the builders to complete the data center for the National Security Agency in just over three years.

The NSA plans to operate the data center for multiple intelligence agencies with a primary mission of cyberwarfare, said Glenn Gaffney, the former deputy director of National Intelligence for Collection, at a news conference announcing the project in October.

Computer servers will occupy most of the 1 million square feet of the data center. The complex will be self-contained, with its own water supply, sewer system, power backup system and anti-terrorism defenses, according to congressional budget documents and an unclassified government bid sheet.

“It’s a big, fast, furious project,” said Rick Stock, executive vice president for Salt Lake City-based structural engineers Dunn Associates, a member of the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. team. Dunn Associates would design the data center’s considerable anti-terrorism and blast mitigation defenses.

The Associated Press was able to confirm the identity of each of five bidding teams by talking to executives for all but one of them. The Corps of Engineers refused to release the short list to anyone outside of government, but executives of each bidding team said they are talking to one another about who survived the cut.

One of the finalists, a team headed by Whiting-Turner of Baltimore, Md., is building another NSA data center in San Antonio, said a member of that team, John Marchand, a senior vice president for Dynamic Systems Inc., a mechanical engineering firm in Austin, Texas.

The other finalists are:

— A joint venture of New York-based Turner Construction Co., Kiewit Building Group of Omaha, Neb., and Salt Lake City-based Jacobsen Construction Co., according to Jacobsen executives.

— Skanska USA Building Inc. of Parsippany, N.J., and Okland Construction Co. Inc. of Salt Lake City, executives for both companies confirmed.

— Dallas-based Balfour Beatty Construction, DPR Construction Inc. of Redwood City, Calif., and Big-D Construction Corp. of Salt Lake City, according to Big-D’s president, Rob Moore.

— Greeley, Colo.-based Hensel Phelps Construction Co. and partners, according to several of the other teams. Hensel Phelps didn’t immediately return calls from the AP.

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