Westerville City Council awarded a $3.75-million contract to Corna Kokosing May 17 for the construction of the city's WeConnect data center.

Westerville City Council awarded a $3.75-million contract to Corna Kokosing May 17 for the construction of the city's WeConnect data center.

That will allow construction on the 16,000-square-foot data center to begin in June and be completed in January 2012.

Corna Kokosing provided the lowest construction bid to the city for the center. The company has had experience with data centers, having constructed a 21,000-square-foot data center in New Albany and having renovated Riverside Methodist Hospital's data center in 2005.

Because Corna Kokosing's bid was low enough, the city was able to add $90,000 to upsize service cables, circuit breakers and the automatic transfer switch, which should save the city future expansion costs, Westerville chief information officer Todd Jackson said.

Other bids were submitted from:

Charter Hill Construction: $3.471 million

Thomas and Marker Construction Co.: $3.474 million

Elford Inc.: $3.529 million

Kajima Building and Design Group: $3.558 million

Pepper Construction Co.: $3.617 million

Gutknecht Construction Co.: $3.635 million

Williamson Builders Inc.: $3.816 million

The exact amount of the Corna Kokosing bid was $3.419 million. The amount awarded by council takes into account the $90,000 of additional work the city was able to afford with the low bid, and a 7-percent construction contingency.

The data center will be built on a 1.399-acre plot at 33 Collegeview Road purchased by the city in October from Otterbein University for $104,925. At that time, council also approved the sale of up to $5.75 million in bonds for costs related to the construction of the center.

Once completed, the data center will house servers, electronic storage equipment and broadband Internet and voice services provided by retail carriers. It will link to city offices and local businesses and organizations through the city's fiber-optic network, which, when finished, will connect city offices and run through the city's major business districts, including Uptown, the South State Street corridor, Brooksedge, Eastwind, northern Westerville and Westar.

Companies that provide managed technology services, such as IT help desks, complete IT services and email services, will be able to rent space in the center to provide services to local businesses.

The goal of the data center, Jackson has said, is to provide medium and small businesses with access to broadband and technological services they otherwise will not be able to afford.

The data center will be paid for through fees.

Council chairman Mike Heyeck praised the city's staff for its work on the data center.

"This is going to be a real good addition to the city of Westerville," Heyeck said.

Councilman Eric Busch said he was glad to see a bid that allowed the city to invest more now to save in the future, even though it did mean spending an additional $90,000.

"That's cost avoidance in the future," Busch said.