COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp outlined a vision Tuesday for a new, state-of-the-art data center targeting Houston businesses as well as companies in other major Texas cities.
The data center, which would be built at the RELLIS campus in Bryan, would be an attractive location for companies in Houston because it would be removed from the coast’s hurricane zone, but still be relatively close to their operations. Companies in Austin, Dallas and Bryan-College Station also could take advantage of a remote data center.
The data center at RELLIS – along with an accompanying network operations center and security operations center – would offer a safe place to back up data and provide information technology services for large and small companies, government agencies and other entities.
“We’ve been considering a data center since 2013, but the land and power supply wasn’t readily available,” Chancellor Sharp said. “After the creation of the RELLIS campus last year, several companies approached us about the possibility of a public-private partnership to build it.”
On Tuesday, a pre-proposal conference is scheduled for companies or entities interested in developing the center. Proposals are due on July 28.
The 2,000-acre RELLIS campus has an ample amount of land for the data center, roughly 30 acres, and room for future expansion. Also, a data center would need large amounts of power and a fiber network, both of which soon could be installed at RELLIS as the infrastructure on the former World War II air base gets put into place, Chancellor Sharp said.
Chancellor Sharp’s vision for the data center also includes an educational component. It would be able to provide classroom space for students pursuing degrees from the System’s regional campuses that will offer programs at RELLIS – such as Texas A&M University-Kingsville and Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Further, the facility would allow the System to help the region by offering technical workforce training. Through an effort with the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, or TEEX, the System would be able to leverage the facilities to provide certification programs to train people in information security, network engineering and other specialties.
“A data center would be an important player in the areas of academics, certifications and research,” Chancellor Sharp said.
A data center would represent only one component of the innovative RELLIS campus. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute will be headquartered there; Blinn College recently broke ground at RELLIS on a facility that will serve approximately 2,500 students; the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, or TEES, also will have its headquarters and a research center there; and private industry will be able to rent space at the campus to test emerging technologies.
Finally, the data center would generate revenue for The Texas A&M University System. Some of the companies that are expected to set up operations at RELLIS – including those working on driverless vehicle technology – would be able to acquire servers, storage and services at the center.
About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $4.2 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities and seven state agencies, the Texas A&M System educates more than 148,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $972 million in FY 2016 and helped drive the state’s economy.
Contact: Tim Eaton
Director, Media Relations