Data center in Springfield Underground to expand

From the Springfield News Leader

Columbia-based telecommunications company Bluebird Network plans to more than double the size of its data center in Springfield Underground.

Between now and mid-2017, three construction phases will add 16,000 square feet of raised floor to the Bluebird Underground facility, according to the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. The data center is currently 13,500 square feet, and was previously operated by City Utilities; Bluebird acquired the facility in December for $8.4 million.

“From its opening in 2002, the success of the data center has resulted in full occupancy and a need to expand,” the chamber said in a Friday project announcement. “Input gathered by Chamber economic development staff from customers, prospects, and site selection consultants helped assess the center’s expansion potential. After a full evaluation by CU economic development staff, the utility determined the best way to expand the data center was to bring in a private partner. Bluebird Network’s acquisition of and commitment to the data center demonstrates its confidence in the ability of the Springfield region to foster this sort of high-tech investment.”

Springfield Underground consists of a series of buildings that are, as the name suggests, entirely below the surface, in the tunnels left by by a north Springfield limestone mining operation. Protected from ice storms, lightning strikes and tornadoes, the facility offers a climate-controlled environment with a stable power supply for businesses and public agencies to store data.

In its project announcement, the chamber praised state legislators for passing a bill encouraging high-tech data centers to locate or expand in Missouri by creating a state and local sales and use tax exemption for equipment, machinery and utilities used in new or expanding data centers.

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