Washington State taxpayers paid a hefty price for the construction of a $300 million data center complex consisting of four data center halls the size of indoor soccer fields in Olympia, two of which now sit unoccupied. Construction began in 2011, amid much controversy. Critics warned that the state would not need the entire complex, a total of about 300,000 square feet including office space, in order to achieve the project purpose of consolidating the state’s data centers.
However, state bureaucrats brushed off the warnings and persisted with the project. Back in 2011, the spokeswoman for the Department of Information Services claimed that consolidating state data centers “would take more [space] than what we’re even building.”
Well, as it turns out, the state bureaucrats were wrong—an error that cost taxpayers hundreds of millions.
KPLU’s Austin Jenkins reports that the state is now desperate to lease the unneeded space, which has sat empty for years. Described as “very warehouse-like,” the unused highly secure space has 20-foot ceilings and concrete floors. Efforts to lease to the private sector have thus far failed.
Rob St. John, who oversees the state data center, told Jenkins that the state is “open to almost any sort of alternate use.”
In the end, it’s just another example of government waste at the hands of bureaucrats and at the expense of taxpayers.