Idaho’s state universities and colleges will collaborate directly with the Idaho National Laboratory in two new research facilities that will start construction in May in Idaho Falls.
The Idaho State Board of Education will build a Collaborative Computing Center and a Cybercore Integration Center on 13 acres nestled between University Place and the Battelle Energy Alliance, the INL contractor. University Place is the Idaho Falls campus for Idaho State University and the University of Idaho.
Battelle will operate the new buildings, collaborating with students and faculty from Boise State University, the University of Idaho, Idaho State University and, to a smaller degree, also from the state’s other four-year and two-year institutions of higher learning, said Chet Herbst, chief financial officer at the state Board of Education.
“For our universities to be involved in cutting-edge research is a big deal,” Herbst said.
The partnership will enable Battelle to greatly increase its work in cyber security. Construction is expected to be completed in September 2019.
“These facilities will greatly enhance our partnerships with the Idaho universities to advance nuclear reactor technologies and solve some of the most pressing challenges to the security and resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructure, including the power grid,” said Mark Peters, INL laboratory director, in a prepared statement.
The education board will own the buildings and sublease them to Battelle for $6.12 million a year. The 15-year lease is designed to make the annual payments on the expected $75 million to $80 million bond for the $85 million project, Herbst said.
“There are no general fund dollars being used,” Herbst noted.
ESI Construction of Meridian and J.E. Dunn Construction of Kansas City are the construction manager/general contractor, implementing a construction manager at risk process that establishes a guaranteed maximum price before construction starts. Flad Architects of Madison, Wisconsin, is the architect.
The State Board of Education bought the land from the Idaho State University Foundation for $1 million and will transfer the property to the Idaho State Building Authority.
Both buildings will be two stories with 66,000 square feet at the Collaborative Computing Center and 79,000 square feet at the Cybercore Integration Center. The CCC will be adjacent to the INL Center of Advanced Energy Studies and the CIC will be near the INL Energy Innovation Laboratory.
The Idaho State Board of Education on March 8 approved the land purchase and executing the Battelle lease.
“This is a great example of how we can work with industry in the state,” Board Member Emma Atchley said.