County will build $110 million data center on Rancho site

DOWNEY - With funds available from the federal stimulus program, the county Board of Supervisors is going ahead to use the portion of land south of the Downey Superior Court at Rancho Los Amigos to build its long-planned County Data Center Project it approved back in 2006.Total cost of the project is $110 million, to be financed through the issuance of Build America bonds. The bonds offer federal reimbursement of 35 percent of the interest costs on the bonds. The project originally had a price tag of $68.6 million and was to house critical data systems currently located at the existing County Data Center downtown as well as data systems for the Public Library, Public Social Services, Probation Department, Assessor, Department of Public Works, Registrar-Records/County Clerk, and Treasurer and Tax Collector offices. But since the imprimatur was signed in 2006, the Department of Health Services, the Department of Mental Health, and the Department of Public Health-which were not part of the proposed project-each experienced recurring equipment failures and power outages. None of several alternatives proved desirable, so it was decided to redesign the County Data Center project to incorporate the three departments. Thus the revised total cost of $110 million. A new 27,000 sq. ft. annex building will be constructed to house the three departments' administrative staff. Direct economic impact will be limited, according to economic development director John Perfitt, as the entire operation will be under the county's purview. Down the line, though, increased property values may result, as well as removal of blight in the vicinity. Estimated number of personnel to man the County Data Center may number 500 or more, he said. Project redesign features will allow for a silver level certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Plans are to use water-efficient fixtures as well as the use of drought-tolerant landscaping to reduce the amount of potable water consumption. The project falls under the over-all Countywide Strategic Plan that hews to short- and long-range fiscal practices to attain, among other things, county public services goals, streamlined procedures to achieve operational efficiencies, and improved county services delivery. Award of the design build procurement contract should be accomplished by December, with the facility's opening slated for late summer of 2014. The Erickson Avenue site used by the Downey Rose Float Association will not be affected.

********** Published: January 15, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 39