Sunday, June 16, 2024

State contributes $10 million for new building at Bossier Cyber Park

by BIZ. Staff

A new addition to Bossier City’s National Cyber Research Park is becoming a reality, thanks to $10 million in funding from the state.

Gov. John Bel Edwards joined local, state and federal officials in Bossier City Monday at the Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) to announce the state’s commitment of $10 million in Capital Outlay funding to build a new, state-of-the-art Louisiana Tech Research Institute (LTRI) at the National Cyber Research Park.

Gov. Edwards noted that the days of north Louisiana’s best and brightest having to leave for knowledge-based career opportunities “are over.”

“The new LTRI facility will gives us a tremendous competitive advantage to attract the best and brightest and keep them right here in north Louisiana. LTRI is uniquely positioned to drive systemic and sustainable economic growth across the region and across our state,” he said. “The I-20 Cyber Corridor is booming and everyone from the private sector to the Department of Defense is taking notice.”

The LTRI facility will provide a specially designed collaborative space that will enable Louisiana Tech University, other major national universities, national labs, and the defense industry to collaborate in advancing national security education, training, research and innovation in support of U.S. Air Force and Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) and other defense organizations. The facility will have a unique ability to support the sensitive advancement and protection of our nation’s security, which is imperative as AFGSC represents two-thirds of the nuclear triad. 

Louisiana Tech President Dr. Les Guice discusses the state’s investment in the LTRI building. (Stacey Tinsley/BIZ. Magazine)

“There is a great need to have highly qualified experts in Bossier City who are committed to advancement of the community and continue to build the knowledge base that is so crucial to the growth of this sector,” said Louisiana Tech University President Dr. Les Guice. “Without these experts, it’s highly likely that many projects and opportunities would go to other states where the talent base is more mature.”

LTRI is an established 501C3 and has been developed from the productive collaborations between Louisiana Tech, CIC, and the Bossier community to support the growth and secure the sustainability of Barksdale Air Force Base, including AFGSC and leverage this presence for new and accelerated regional economic growth opportunities. LTRI fosters collaboration among government partners, academia, and industry and serve as the official home for strategic thought-, cyber-, defense-, and intelligence-related education, training, and workforce development programs for North Louisiana. 

“LTRI, along with Cyber Innovation Center, will provide our region and our state with the next step in growing our knowledge based economy supporting Air Force Global Strike and other government agencies in national security results. Our vision from a decade ago is becoming more and more of a reality with each building,” said Craig Spohn, Executive Director of Cyber Innovation Center.

LTRI will mark the fourth, and final, building originally planned for the current cyber park configuration.

“The City of Bossier City is proud of its investment, along with that of Bossier Parish and the State of Louisiana, in the National Cyber Research Park. The Louisiana Tech Research Institute will be the fourth facility built in the last decade and, like its predecessors, will bring more opportunity for economic diversification and career choices for our city, our region, and our state,” said Bossier City Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker.

The combined efforts of the State of Louisiana, Bossier City, and Bossier Parish established the National Cyber Research Park and a cyber corridor that begins in Bossier Parish and continues through Ruston and Monroe. 

A rendering of the new LTRI building and how it will look in-place at the National Cyber Research Park from inside the CIC. (Stacey Tinsley/BIZ. Magazine)

This cyber corridor boosts north Louisiana’s economy, with Spohn noting that the more than 1,100 tech jobs created in the local area have exceeded the manufacturing sector in Bossier City and are not far away from the oil and gas sector’s approximately 1,600 jobs.

Spohn also explained that the planned $1 trillion modernization of the country’s nuclear defense over the next 30 years translates to $1.6 billion for Global Strike and Barksdale.

“That’s a conservative estimate,” Spohn said. “That’s the equivalent of taking the $800,000 economic impact of Barksdale and adding two more Barksdale’s to the local economy.”

Gov. Edwards noted the community’s important relationship with Barksdale, specifically the base’s impact on the area’s economy. He said this is what spurred his collaboration with local legislators to find funding for the new I-20/I-220 entrance to the base as well as legislation that makes it easier for professional licenses of military spouses transfer to Louisiana.

“The State of Louisiana is absolutely committed to Barksdale Air Force Base. If there’s ever another Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), we don’t want them even thinking of Barksdale Air Force Base and the state of Louisiana,” said Gov. Edwards.

Brigadier General Gerald Goodfellow (Ret.), a 30-year Air Force veteran, has been named the LTRI’s executive director. Dr. Guice noted that he has already made progress in recruiting new talent to the community.

“His leadership will strengthen connection between our university, community and Global Strike Command,” Dr. Guice said.

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