TVA names college site 'Ready to Recruit'

TVA names college site 'Ready to Recruit'

May 9th, 2013 by Ben Benton in Business Quotes
Illustration by Laura McNutt /Times Free Press.

Illustration by Laura McNutt /Times Free Press.

What is a data center?

A datacenter is a centralized repository, either physical or virtual, for the storage, management, and dissemination of data and information. The facility is used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems.

Discounted power rates

Data centers and technology companies meeting the following criteria may be eligible for TVA's most competitive rates:

• Power demand over 1,000 kilowatts

• Average monthly load factor of 80 percent or higher

The Tennessee Valley Authority has named 100 acres of land adjacent to Northeast Alabama Community College between Fort Payne and Scottsboro to its list of data center sites deemed "ready to recruit."

The designation means the site is ideal for building and operating a "data center," referring to facilities that house computer systems to store data for Internet companies, financial transaction processors and various high-tech industries.

NACC President Dr. David Campbell said school officials are happy to be connected with the site and to be part of its future.

"We're a comprehensive community college, and this fits right into the mission of the college," Campbell said.

"It's a very positive development for the college and the area," he said. "There's an industrial park adjacent to the college, and we're looking at industrial recruitment."

NACC, which has a fall enrollment of about 3,200, will be ready to become a training partner with any incoming industries, he said.

"We have the Internet capacity and the students to be a workforce for the data center. We do a lot of workforce training, so, of course, that will tie in very well to a data center," he said.

The application was a joint effort of the Jackson County Economic Development Authority and the DeKalb County Economic Development Authority, which formed a joint committee to pursue the designation, officials said.

Being designated "ready to recruit" is "a tremendous help because there's not that many data centers selected," the DeKalb County EDA director said of the 21 sites identified so far by TVA's contractor, Chicago-based Deloitte Consulting.

"We are always looking for opportunities to give Jackson County a competitive edge, and this designation will immediately give us an advantage when data center companies are looking for an optimal site," Jackson County Economic Development Authority President Dus Rogers said.

"This designation proves we have done a lot of due dilligence. That kind of lowers the risk for prospects who are considering a site by having a lot of the documentation done for environmental studies, geological soil boring, geotechnical tests," he said. "It's pretty much a prepared site."

Most of the sites identified as data centers in the Tennessee Valley are in rural communities where there is less congestion and operating costs tend to be less.

Durham's counterpart in Jackson County echoed his sentiments.

"It is our economic development role to help communities like Jackson County be prepared for growth opportunities and promote their community's assets and strengths to data centers and other targeted companies," TVA Economic Development senior vice president John Bradley said in a release on the designation.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@times free or 423-757-6569.