Feb 18, 2014 6:10 PM by AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A computer services company announced Tuesday that it plans to open a new technology center in Bossier City, creating 800 new jobs and bolstering efforts to position northwest Louisiana as a center for cybersecurity work.
Computer Sciences Corporation will build its new facility - which will focus on cloud computing, cybersecurity and software development - at a research park in the region that also houses the Cyber Innovation Center, which is located next to Barksdale Air Force base and collaborates with Louisiana Tech University.
"Northwest Louisiana is going to become one of America's new technology hubs, enabling the region to attract technology partners of CSC as well as other technology companies attracted to the growing IT workforce here," Gov. Bobby Jindal said in a statement.
The Virginia-based company considered 134 locations before choosing the Bossier City site, where it expects to have a $39 million payroll by 2017.
"It's an ability to reach out and tap into a community that has a great work ethic, a great infrastructure and a great university system and bring those capabilities to our customers," Dave Zolet, CSC executive vice president and general manager, said in a statement.
The state will put at least $53 million into the project in expanded higher education offerings, construction and relocation costs, while also offering additional tax breaks for software development and high-paying jobs with benefits.
Jindal's office said the state will invest $14 million over 10 years into college programs to increase the number of computer science graduates. At least 65 percent of the dollars will be targeted to Louisiana Tech to help it quadruple the number of undergraduate degrees earned each year in computer fields.
Louisiana also will give CSC a nearly $10 million grant for its relocation and recruitment expenses and will build the company's $29 million technology center.
Bossier Parish and city governments have agreed to chip in an additional $5 million each for infrastructure, such as power supplies. The building and infrastructure will be owned by the city and parish, according to Jindal's office.
The deal was praised by both of Louisiana's U.S. senators, Democrat Mary Landrieu and Republican David Vitter, who said the jobs created by the company will help keep college graduates in the state.
The company will move into a 40,000-square-foot temporary space, with construction on its permanent, 116,000-square-foot facility set to begin later this year and expected to wrap up in mid-2015.
Computer Sciences Corporation says it has 80,000 employees performing IT work in more than 70 countries.