The National Security Agency wants to spend more than $1 billion to build a 1-million-square foot facility in Utah.
Why not Colorado Springs?
There’s a vacant little 1.7 million-square-foot parcel up on Garden of the Gods Road where a little business called Intel used to be.
Could the Intel building be adapted to house the NSA? It could pay off by bringing 1,200 jobs to the area and boosting local construction companies.
I am not a construction specialist by any means, but at first blush the needed footage seems to be a fit.
The cost of the Intel facility is about $100 million.
Why should the government waste all that money when Colorado Springs has a fire sale?
I asked Mike Kazmierski, CEO of the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp., “What do you think about the data center project being built in Utah.”
He said, “I am not sure of the requirements of that data center project, I believe that NSA has in the past retrofitted facilities like the Intel facility we have available here in Colorado Springs and a retrofit project would be significantly less in cost than a new build, which is what is planned in Utah.”
Supporting facilities include water treatment facilities, electrical substations, vehicle inspection facility, visitor control center, perimeter site security measures and fuel storage.
Armed patrol vehicles could be part of the scenery if the NSA were to move here.
Then again, the folks living in the Kissing Camels neighborhood above that NSA campus might take issue with the secure facility and start driving golf balls at it from the Nos. 5 and 6 tee boxes.
Retrofitting or adapting existing structures is not a new concept for the NSA.
In San Antonio, NSA took over and remodeled a defunct Sony microchip plant.
A $100 million for the Intel building versus $1 billion to $2 billion makes sense to me.
News reports from Utah are saying the power need for this gargantuan project is at least 65 megawatts. One megawatt is a unit of power equaling a million watts. Sixty-five megawatts is enough energy to power just fewer than 50,000 homes. Colorado Springs Utilities may need to do some grid upgrades for this amount of power but for a customer of this size, I am sure they would find a way.
If Intel could be remodeled to accommodate the requirements for a fraction of the cost of a new facility, why wasn’t it looked into?
A stalled power struggle in Washington, D.C., is my guess.
Sen. Orrin Hatch — from Utah — is the longest serving member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Hatch was elected to the senate in 1976.
Colorado’s two senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, took their seats in 2006 and 2009, respectively.
Do you suppose Hatch’s clout had something to do with this?
Our Washington delegation is looking into this, but Hatch is a formidable foe. My guess: We won’t be sharing Intel with the NSA.
Lon Matejczyk is publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at Lon.Matejczyk@csbj.com or 329-5202.