“Say they were collecting data somebody didn’t want, say a terrorist,” said Shannon Neilson, a convenience store manager whose house is just miles from the center. “What if that’s a target for a plane hitting that, destroying everything?”
Late last month, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the center to mark work being finished on the exterior.
The celebration, however, was closed to the public – an exclusive, invitation-only gathering that barred even the mayor of Bluffdale. The NSA also rejected a request by city officials to take a group of visiting Utah mayors on a bus tour of the outside of the facility. The agency said all tours – even of the exterior – are prohibited.
At the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, educators are creating a certificate program that they hope will produce students ready to work at big data centers such as the Bluffdale facility. The NSA helped reviewed the curriculum, offering suggestions, and plans to offer internships to students, said Valerio Pascucci, director of the Center for Extreme Data, Management, Analysis and Visualization.
The program is designed primarily for undergraduate students studying mechanical or electrical engineering and computer science. So far, the Utah Data Center has yet to post jobs, Valerio said. “We are building a new expertise that obviously is going to be in growing demand in the future,” he said.
Bluffdale City Manager Mark Reid said he hopes the NSA center serves as a magnet for other, privately run data centers to the area. Unlike the NSA facility, those would be required to pay property taxes. Reid will travel to a data center conference in Washington, D.C., this month to promote Utah’s cheap power and ideal workforce. But if attendees ask about the new NSA facility, he’ll be short on answers.<< previous 1 2 3 4 5