The opening of the CSRA Integrated Technology Center in Bossier City on Tuesday was lauded by Gov. John Bel Edwards as the result of a strong community partnership and the foundation for a bright future in the area.

“Let that collaboration be our guide for the future as we continue to dream big and continue to build a National Cyber Research Park that will be the envy of the world,” Edwards said. “There is no reason it can’t happen right here in Bossier, none, but we have to remain committed to it, we have to persevere.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the completion of the $39 million, 96,000 square-foot facility on East Texas Street near the Cyber Innovation Center and Bossier Parish Community College. The ITC is expected to bring 800 jobs to Bossier by June 2018, and another 300 jobs are anticipated through CSRA’s engagement contact center on Benton Road.

CSRA is a global company that brings next-generation technology services to the federal government. Bossier City was selected out of 134 potential cities to be the site of the ITC.

“As someone who has been governor for a rather challenging time for 10 months and four days, it’s a pleasure to be out celebrating,” Edwards said. “The dream was really rather simple – let’s build a foundation for the future. Let’s make technology that foundation and increase our educational capacity to attract technology jobs.”

Other officials in attendance included Bossier Mayor Lo Walker, Bossier Parish Police Jury President Wanda Bennett, Northwestern State University President Jim Henderson, Louisiana Tech University President Les Guice and Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson, who said the Northwest Louisiana area is only getting more diverse economically.

“The tourism industry is here, you’re a healthcare center, Barksdale Air Force Base [has] very vibrant and robust support, manufacturing activities are still very strong in this part of the state,” Pierson said. “Today at this facility we establish… a new beachhead that makes a new addition to this economy around information technology and jobs of the future and well-paying jobs. That’s music to our ears.”

CSRA’s community endeavor agreement partners for the project include the City of Bossier, Bossier Parish and the Cyber Innovation Center, as well as the state and Louisiana Economic Development. Its education partners include Louisiana Tech, Northwestern State and BPCC.

CSRA employees, which grew from one person in early 2014 to about 400 today, were housed in the Cyber Innovation Center during the two-year construction period of the ITC.

“All this work, all this energy is focused on one thing: delivering tomorrow’s technology today,” said CSRA CIO John Dancy. “We’re excited about this community, we’re excited to be here and we’re looking forward to the opportunities that this grand opening represents.”