NASA cuts ribbon on new facility at Stenns

Published 6:20 pm Friday, August 29, 2008

While everyone continues to keep a wary eye on the tropics, Tropical Storm Gustav and his uncertain path did little to dampen the high spirits of the ribbon cutting ceremony of the brand new, state-of-the-art NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC) at Stennis on Thursday – but he was mentioned.

Theguest speakers on the event included Robert Cabana, director of Stennis Space Center; Charles Scales, NASA associate deputy administrator; Jim Sheaffer, president of the Computer Sciences Corporation North American Public Sector; Rep. Gene Taylor, D-4thMiss., U.S> Sen. Roger Wicker, R.-Miss. and Gov. Haley Barbour.

All of them mentioned the trials and tribulations of winning the contract for the NSSC building. The Stennis facility vied for the contract with six other locations, and then, after the contract was awarded, Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, and the future of NSSC became uncertain again.

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Barbour and the state of Mississippi were thanked repeatedly by the Stennis representatives. Barbour’s commitment and dedication to the facility and the funds the state was able to channel towards the building was said to have a lot to do with its success.

“Mississippi has shown we can compete,” said Wicker, who spoke of the other industry contracts that have been awarded to the area, such as Toyota and G.E.

Master of Ceremonies Rick Arbuthnot, executive director of NSSC, in his introduction of Barbour said, “NSSC was kept on his priority list because of his commitment to recovery.”

“It’s a big deal, and it matters,” said Barbour. He spoke about the $33 million building and the 500 jobs that the facility has brought to the area.

Barbour did take a few minutes from the festivities to discuss the potential threat slowly making its way to the Gulf — Tropical Storm Gustav. He told a brief and comical story about Conrad Hilton’s appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. He said that when Sullivan asked Hilton, the man who started the big hotel chain, what advice he could give to viewers, Hilton replied, “Put the shower curtain inside of the tub.”

As the laughter died down, Barbour said, “There’s a guy, who kept his eye on the ball.” Then he talked about the storm. He said that Mississippi had declared a State of Emergency earlier that day, and that no one should panic, but everyone should be prepared. He said that today was the day to give some thought to preparations for your property and for yourself. He also said be prepared to take care of yourself for the first three days following any storm with food, water, and medicines.

“Sorry on a wonderful occasion like today… [I have to remind everyone] to put the shower curtain inside of the tub,” he said.

NSSC is the partnership between NASA and CSC. The 125,000 gross square-foot complex was built to be environmentally friendly. Ground was broken for the facility on Feb. 24, 2006. On March 1, 2006, NSSC employees started to work from temporary facilities. Moving into the finished building was completed by the end of last July. In it’s two years of existence, NSSC has been recognized twice nationally for its achievements.