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Released March 24, 2004


STENNIS SPACE CENTER -- Mississippi's top elected officials met with a NASA administrator March 15 at Stennis Space Center to discuss a proposal that would bring NASA's new Shared Service Center to the site.

Stennis is competing with five other NASA facilities for the center, which will consolidate NASA's human resources, procurement, facility resource management and information-technology services. If realized, the new center would employ almost 500 people at Stennis, at an average salary of $60,000.

The University of Southern Mississippi's Office of Research and Economic Development helped Stennis develop the proposal by assisting with information related to available workforce and diversity, cost of living in the area, accessibility, quality of life, and cost analysis for the center.

Gov. Haley Barbour, Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, Mississippi state Rep. Dirk Dedeaux and Louisiana Secretary of Economic Development Don Hutchinson met NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe to discuss the proposal. O'Keefe also received a computerized "virtual tour" of the site and of the proposal at the Southern Miss visualization laboratory.

"I commend Southern Miss for helping Stennis develop this proposal, which is very competitive as a result of that effort," said Tom Donaldson, director of Stennis Space Center.

The Center for Higher Learning, operated by Southern Miss at Stennis, was also highlighted for its ability to provide workforce training and to advance educational opportunities at the site for the center's personnel.

Stennis is proposing to build a $21 million, 135,000-square-foot facility near the main administrative building and adjacent to the Mississippi Technology Transfer Center. The MTTC building houses the Center for Higher Learning, the Southern Miss Visualization Lab, and the Southern Miss Office of Research and Economic Development's Stennis operations.

The state would provide $20.9 million toward the cost of the building, money that would be recouped within five years from the $30 million NASA payroll, five-year lease payments and income and sales tax revenue.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM