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Cyber park receives data center qualification

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The National Cyber Research Park in Bossier City, Louisiana, has been designated an American Electric Power (AEP) Qualified Data Center Site after passing a rigorous qualification process to confirm the site is ready for development.

Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co. (BLS), the site selection firm AEP commissioned for the qualification process, determined that National Cyber Research Park offers a reliable and redundant power supply, strong fiber networks, low disaster risks and a business-friendly climate.

“This designation represents National Cyber Research Park’s ability to meet the increasingly complex needs of data center users,” said Craig Spohn, Executive Director/President of the Cyber Innovation Center. “It provides an attractive opportunity for data center users and other mission-critical facilities to consider making our community their home.”

National Cyber Research Park, located at 6220 East Texas Street in Bossier City, currently is a 64-acre, high-tech, cyber-focused complex with expansion up to 3,000 acres. This location offers data centers the connectivity, redundancy, survivability and collaboration essential for new business development opportunities.

Together with its energy service affiliate, Sugarloaf Associates, BLS designed a three-phase evaluation process that analyzed the site’s electric supply and capacity, access to long- and short-haul fiber providers, water availability, electric costs, demographics, vendor/supplier networks and the ability to complete construction within 18 months. As an extra step, a third-party engineering company, Intelligent Building Systems (IBS), was hired to model the site’s ability to accommodate a 100,000-square-foot, raised-floor data center designed to current industry specifications.

“As we grow more dependent on electronic communications and computerized data, the secure storage of this information is vital to critical business functions,” explained Frank Crockett, manager of Economic Development for Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO). “The data center pre-qualification process allowed us to clearly understand the needs of the data center users and to distinguish ourselves as an electric utility able to support those needs,”

The BLS qualification process ensured that National Cyber Research Park not only had the right infrastructure to support data center projects, but it also had a secure environment to minimize risk and targeted incentives to help offset costs.

“We are very proud to have earned this distinction. We offer companies a very unique opportunity and strong business case,” Spohn said.

For more information about the National Cyber Research Park and AEP’s data center site qualification program, visit www.aepdatacenters.com and www.cyberinnovationcenter.org.