CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A supercomputer center designed to improve global and regional weather forecasting is expected to open in Fairmont next fall.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration project will become an anchor tenant at I-79 Technology Park.
More than $27.6 million in federal stimulus funds will help pay for the computer center, federal officials announced at a Wednesday press conference.
"Demands for more detailed climate and weather information continue to grow from all sectors of society, so NOAA must invest in technology now to meet future needs," said Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the federal agency. "The additional computing power at the new center allows NOAA to strengthen its ability to provide the right information at the right time for people to make decisions at all levels."
The supercomputer will take up more than 54,000 square feet of space at the Fairmont tech park. Renovations on the facility will start in January. The center is expected to have up to a dozen employees.
"This state-of-the-art supercomputer will not only give NOAA a powerful new tool in climate and weather modeling and service delivery, it will also cement north-central West Virginia's reputation as a growing high-tech center," U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan said in a prepared statement Wednesday. "This facility will help anchor the I-79 Technology Park for decades to come."
The stimulus funds will pay for electrical, plumbing, mechanical and other building improvements, including a four-foot-high raised floor.
The NOAA said the new computer would help improve hurricane and other severe weather forecasts. The data center also is expected to supply improved real-time weather information.
Vertex Holdings Inc. has been hired to manage the computer center. In July, the West Virginia Economic Development Authority approved a $20.9 low-interest loan for the project
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.