New facility at Valley Oak Commerce Complex serves existing businesses, helps area prepare for industrial growth
A new fiber-optic data center serving the entire Valley Oak Commerce Complex is complete and functional, a Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority (SPEDA) initiative that will deliver state-of-the-art communications service to businesses along the Ky. 80-461 corridor.
SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler said the new data center is the most advanced of its kind in Kentucky. SPEDA constructed a new facility on the property where a small, rusted trailer containing outdated communications equipment once stood. The new building is larger, under roof, and is surrounded by a security fence and cameras to protect the fiber-optic network housed inside.
Building this data center is part of a greater effort to provide support for existing businesses in the Valley Oak area, Girdler said. SPEDA has also built an overflow truck lot and installed signage to help with traffic congestion issues at Valley Oak, and opened a food truck plaza to provide local food options to employees during their breaks.
“If we’re not regularly listening to existing businesses and helping them address their needs, we can never hope to achieve the growth we want to see in Somerset-Pulaski County,” Girdler said. “This data center will provide greater communications support to these businesses and serve as an invaluable resource to new businesses that choose to locate in Valley Oak or in our new SPEDA Commerce Park in the same area.”
The data center is part of the Ky. 80-461 road expansion project, which includes installing a cloverleaf interchange at the intersection of Ky. 80 and 461, expanding Ky. 461 to four lanes from the intersection to Buck Creek, and building new entryways at Valley Oak Commerce Complex. The project is funded in part by a $25 million federal BUILD grant with the total cost estimated at $69.3 million.
Formerly known as the Garner property in the Pine Hill and Barnesburg Road area, SPEDA Commerce Park is a 142-acre development in the Ky. 80-461 area that will offer certified build-ready sites to industrial prospects. The park’s first tenant, the Kentucky National Guard, announced in August its intentions to build a new regional readiness center and field maintenance shop there on 18 acres.
The fiber-optic network inside the data center was made possible through partnerships with several private entities, Girdler said. SPEDA teamed up with The Center for Rural Development’s information technology team to complete the project. The Center is the lead oversight agency, managing the construction of the building and maintenance of the equipment.
Girdler thanked The Center’s IT team for its oversight and guidance in building a data center that will provide adequate communications support now and in the future for this industrial area.
“The Center for Rural Development has been an outstanding partner in guiding our efforts to build this fiber-optic data center,” Girdler said. “Richard Taylor, Shannon Carter and Scott Surber have exceptional expertise in this field and we are so grateful for their help in ensuring that we provide the best service for our existing businesses and industries, while also preparing the area for growth.”
Taylor, who serves as executive vice president at The Center, said his organization has been involved with the technology aspect of Valley Oak since its inception.
“We are thrilled to continue to partner with SPEDA in providing oversight for this data center build,” Taylor said. “Enabling the tenants in the park with physical route diverse cable paths as well as access to multiple carriers is important as more businesses are seeking to implement technologies such as SD-WAN that require carrier diversity to be truly effective.”
Girdler also thanked the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and representative Shawna Shuffett for helping with project oversight, as well as SPEDA Chief Administrative Officer Jessica Carlton, who led the financing of the project and made many trips onsite to help during construction.
“This data center wouldn’t be possible without the help and collaboration of so many organizations across the community,” Girdler said. “I am so grateful to each and every one of them for their support, as well as the SPEDA team and board of directors for helping realize the bold vision we have for making Somerset-Pulaski County the best place in Kentucky to do business.”