Idaho’s potential purchase of Hewlett Packard’s roughly 1.3 million square foot campus in Boise, Idaho, could help the state unify IT infrastructure and services.
At the National Association of State Chief Information Officers Annual Conference on Oct. 2, Idaho CIO Greg Zickau said the state is pursuing the property’s purchase as way to consolidate many of its agency offices, improve collaboration between staff, and create opportunities to share IT services and infrastructure.
“Just imagine the cultural change of having agencies — which are now in their own little buildings and geographic areas — converged together,” Zickau said. “The people you would see at lunch would be people who you used to never see. It’s just going to change the whole dynamic of the state.”
The state’s legal team began an analysis and informal talks with HP to acquire the property at the end of 2016, Zickau said, with the intent of using the campus for the Idaho Tax Commission and other agencies.
In March, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter announced the state’s intentions to pursue formal negotiations with HP on a deal that would require about $110 million to purchase the eight-building campus and another $16 million for renovations.
The state would lease half of the office space back to HP for seven years and take on current leases for the facility’s other commercial tenants. As those tenant leases expire, the state reported it will grow its own use of the campus’ office space from 152,000 square feet at purchase to 366,000 square feet by 2020. The state also said it expects to quickly recover its purchase and renovation costs from revenue gained through its leaseback to HP, commercial business leases, and rents paid out of the operating budgets of the Tax Commission and other state agencies.
To finalize the deal, the Idaho House and Senate must to agree on resolutions that would allow the state to purchase the property and accept the leases it would inherit from the deal. New construction to build a similar facility is estimated to cost nearly double, according to the state.
“This opportunity for an agreement with a valued business leader will benefit both parties and addresses a pressing need for the state of Idaho,” Otter said in a statement. “We’ve been looking hard for the right place at the right price for our agencies, and the HP campus really fits the bill. A great employer is reinforcing its commitment to Idaho and the state is saving money, so it’s a win-win.”
If the deal goes through, Zickau said, collaboration between agencies and the state’s push to consolidate its cybersecurity efforts will help unify Idaho’s digital infrastructure.
“It’s intuitively obvious the moment you get into state government in Idaho and start gathering data and start seeing how the infrastructure and processes work, that you see we could do better or be more efficient,” Zickau said. “It’s not that [agency] leaders make bad decisions — they make good IT decisions for their agencies — but we want to see decisions driven from more of an enterprise perspective.”