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$32 million contract awarded for data center at Martinsburg VA center

November 07, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A Fairfax, Va., company has been awarded a $32 million contract to build a new facility for a regional data center at the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus, U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd's office announced Friday.

The Department of Veterans Affairs awarded the contract to HITT Contracting Inc., which is expected to complete a 66,000-square-foot facility by the spring of 2010, Byrd's office said.

"This new data center will be another important federal asset located in the Eastern Panhandle," said Byrd, who later announced he was stepping away from the powerful chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"This new facility will not only bring more jobs and economic benefits to the region, but also improve infrastructure needs, further enhancing the Martinsburg area's appeal as a potential location for federal agencies and jobs that come with them."

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The facility will replace an interim location in northern Berkeley County that opened in late 2005 and is staffed by about 120 people, according to Data Center director Rodney Emery. The new facility potentially could employ up to 160 people, Emery said.

The interim site allowed federal officials to "collapse" eight other locations into the northern Berkeley County site, and the new facility will advance efficiency efforts particularly with information technology, Emery said.

The Martinsburg data center is one of four such data centers in the nation. The others are in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas, Emery said.

The data center will operate and maintain systems in conjunction with other VA corporate data centers and serve federal agencies in the Eastern Panhandle, according to Byrd's office.

The increased investment by the Department of Veterans Affairs is one of several announced by Byrd over the years. As Appropriations Committee chairman, Byrd has steered millions of dollars in federal money to the region to build the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Advance Training Center near Harpers Ferry, the U.S. Coast Guard National Maritime Center in Martinsburg and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife National Conservation Training Center outside Shepherdstown, among other projects.

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