Regional telecom provider Ritter Communications broke ground Tuesday (April 30) on a state-of-the-art $8 million data technology center that will expand the company’s campus in central Jonesboro.
The 8,882-square-foot, multi-user cloud and data storage facility will serve local and regional customers and will add another tool to the region’s economic development offerings.
“There’s a worldwide trend for IT infrastructure to move away from dedicated corporate facilities and into multi-user facilities like this one we’re building as businesses look for ways to manage their IT environments more efficiently and effectively,” said Alan Morse, president of Ritter Communications.
He added that the facility would offer a business necessity found in cities like Memphis, St. Louis or Little Rock.
The data center will be built to withstand earthquakes and tornadoes and will feature high-tech biometric security precautions. Construction will begin immediately and be completed by mid-2020. It will be located at 1765 Mayfield Drive in Jonesboro.
“We believe that our investment in this facility will enhance economic development opportunities because when companies consider our region for expansion or relocation, they want to see fiber-optic data connectivity and secure data center facilities. Now, Ritter Communications can offer both,” Morse said.
That sentiment was shared by Chris Barber, St. Bernard’s Healthcare CEO and chairman of Jonesboro Unlimited, an economic development nonprofit that works in tandem with the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“The world is moving into big data and AI technology. Having this type of facility in Northeast Arkansas is going to be significant,” Barber said. “We can check one of the boxes when folks are looking to invest in this community.
“Being on the board of directors for the National League of Cities and the Arkansas Municipal League, one of our main things has been ‘smart cities,’” said Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin, who noted that companies looking to locate in the area are seeking this type of community amenity.
Nabholz Corp. of Conway and CTA Architects Engineers of Colorado will jointly manage the construction project.