By Natalie Tolomeo/ Channel 3
State and local leaders broke ground Tuesday on a project that will bring jobs to a vacant State Street landmark.
Construction crews have already started transforming the old Techinical High School into a secure housing facility for the state's electronic records. Officials it's going to cost $110 million dollars to have the new Springfield Data Center up and running by 2012.
T.H.S. helped educate thousands of students from 1906 until it closed in 1986. Graduates and former teachers, like Harry Setian, class of 1953 and former Tiger teacher, say T.H.S. still has a special place in the community.
"Memories are there, they last forever," he says. "We can't get into the building to walk around, but we do have our fond memories."
And Democratic Congressman Richard Neal agrees.
"It's an iconic building and you can see the affection of the people here that either went here or taught here. It's a terrific story for the Pioneer Valley," says the Congressman.
The bricks laid before 1906 will be incorporated into the new Springfield Data Center. It will be secure- housing the state's e-records and backing-up the Commonwealth's primary data center.
"This is I.T. And this is the way I.T. is supposed to be secured and the way it's supposed to be protected and the way we, as state government, must be more efficient about the critical pieces of public information and that is happening here in Springfield," says Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.
It's also going to happen at what's going to be the greenest I.T. building in New England. The SDC will feature abundant natural light, capture rain water that comes off the roof and the use the data storage computers to help warm the building.
"We're going to use the heat from the computers to heat the other spaces that people are going to be working in," says Stephen Eustis, vice president of SKANSKA, a project development and construction company overseeing the new data center.
150 construction workers will be on the job and once it's finished, there will be at least 60 new permanent technology positions.
As graduates and former teachers sang the Tech Cheer Song, showing their Tiger pride, Setian is happy the former school that had been vacant since 1986 is being put to use again.
"It's a positive thing all the way around," he says.
Residents we spoke with say they think the neighborhood will be safer with security protecting the area, not just the information inside.