Work continues to get infrastructure in place for the Microsoft data center campus coming to Malaga. 

The Chelan Douglas Port Authority has financed construction of a water main and is handing over its ownership to the Malaga Water District. 

Port Authority Director of Economic Development & Capital Projects Stacie de Mestre says the water main is a key component in connecting water from the water district to Microsoft. 

"It was an 18-inch water main from the end of their current main, which is on Saturday Ave.," said de Mestre. "And then it runs down Malaga Alcoa Hwy. to the Microsoft site. 

The Port has also overseen construction of a recirculation system to prevent issues with stagnant water, as water demand at the data center will be high in the summer months, but almost nonexistent in the wintertime. The water will be used to cool down machinery at the center. 

The Port Authority has approved a Bill of Sale which will deed over ownership of the near mile long (5,000 ft.) watermain to the Malaga Water District.  

de Mestre says the water main will also serve a greater purpose for the Malaga area. 

"It has the ability to serve other industrially zoned properties in that region. So, it's not zoned solely for Microsoft. It's truly an improvement to the Malaga Water District." 

In addition, the Port purchased the land identified for the cooling water site from GBI Holding Co. for about $1.9 million last summer 

The site will be used to dispose of water used for cooling the data centers in summer months. The site would only be in use for five months out of the year. 

The GBI site is located on the right bank of the Columbia River approximately 7 miles downstream from the George Sellar bridge. It will include what are called “spray fields” along with the water disposal system. 

Port commissioners have also signed off for engineering firm RH2 to complete engineering work for Phase 1 of Infrastructure work for the data centers. 

Microsoft is reimbursing the Port for all expenses in the prep work. 

All water system improvements being done in preparation of the Microsoft data center - Image from Chelan Douglas Port Authority
All water system improvements being done in preparation of the Microsoft data center - Image from Chelan Douglas Port Authority

The total for Phase 1 is about $10 million. Phase 2 has a working budget of $40 million so far. It includes the building of water storage reservoirs and additional water transmission mains. 

Microsoft has leveled its 100-acre site in Malaga and work on its first of at least three buildings will begin this Spring. 

The tech giant has secured its first building permit and has submitted for the second one. 

Each building is on an 18-month timeframe for completion. The first building could be operational by 2025. Plans call for all three buildings to be completed by the end of 2025. 

Once completed, the Microsoft cloud data center will support a range of services, such as the Teams videoconferencing program. 

All the infrastructure work being done by the Port is designed to handle six buildings, even though only three are currently set to be constructed.  

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Gallery Credit: Mark Rattner with KPQ Newsradio 560

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