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What you need to know for 09/23/2017

AMD announcement brings sense of relief to local officials

AMD announcement brings sense of relief to local officials

Local officials are expressing relief and excitement now that Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has confir

Local officials are expressing relief and excitement now that Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has confirmed plans to build a $4.5 billion computer chip factory on the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Malta and Stillwater.

Construction is expected to begin next summer.

AMD spokesman Travis Bullard said the manufacturing operation will be a spinoff from the parent company and will be known as The Foundry Company. He said the investment is now expected to be about $1 billion more than initially announced, as the size of the facility has been increased by 30,000 square feet from the original drawings.

"When we announced the project a couple of years ago, it was expected the plant would be 150,000 square feet," Bullard said this morning. "The new design calls for a larger clean room in the facility and will increase the project to 180,000 square feet."

Company officials said AMD is partnering with Advanced Technology Investment Company of Abu Dhabi to create the semiconductor manufacturing company. The new global company, with operations in Dresden, Germany, Austin, Texas, and Malta, will combine advanced process technology, manufacturing facilities and "aggressive plans to expand its global capacity footprint."

ATIC will invest $2.1 billion to purchase its stake in The Foundry, of which it will invest $1.4 billion directly in the new entity and the remainder will be paid to AMD to purchase additional shares in the new company. The Foundry will also assume approximately $1.2 billion of AMD's existing debt.

"ATIC has committed additional equity funding to The Foundry Company of a minimum of $3.6 billion and up to $6.0 billion over the next five years to fund the expansion of The Foundry Company's chip-making capacity beyond the manufacturing facilities initially contributed by AMD," according to a company press release.

The funds will be used by The Foundry to proceed with capacity expansion at its fabrication operations in Germany and to begin construction on a new state-of-the-art facility in Malta and Stillwater.

The computer chip factory is expected to create 1,465 high paying jobs, which Malta Town Supervisor Paul Sausville said will boost an economy that has slumped for decades with job losses from General Electric operations.

"This is great news not just for Malta, but for the entire Capital District," Sausville said. "We've been informed that 60 percent of the jobs will be technicians, and they will be paid $40,000 to $70,000 a year. The remaining 40 percent of the jobs will be professionals making six figures - that is more than $100,000 a year."

Ballston Spa Central School District Superintendent John Dragone said district officials were excited to hear the news.

"It's something we've been looking forward to hearing," he said.

Dragone said his Board of Education is continuing to look for property that might be suitable for new school buildings if the district population continues to grow, whether because of AMD or other factors. Currently the board is preparing for a public vote to expand and update existing middle school and high school facilities. The $56.6 million project is planned to deal with the current population of students in a facility built 50 years ago to house fewer teens.

"We are educating approximately 1,050 students in a facility designed for 800," Dragone said. "We'll be looking for future upgrades in phase two, but right now we need to deal with our current overcrowded situation."

Dragone was hired by the school district last summer.

Earlier, school officials made visits to high schools near computer chip factories in Oregon to discuss how the schools prepare students for jobs in technology fields.

A portion of the manufacturing facility will be in the town of Stillwater. Town Supervisor Shawn Connelly said his town board received its first set of amended blueprints for the fabrication operation last week.

"The plant will be built in stages, with the first [fabrication section] completely in Malta," he said. "Part of the second fab and almost all of the third fab will be in Stillwater."

He said because construction on the first section will be in Malta, planning approvals have been concentrated initially in that town.

"We will have our first full meeting with AMD on Oct. 20," Connelly said. "We're very excited to finally hear the commitment has been made."

Hector Ruiz, AMD's chairman and former CEO visited the Luther Forest site in August and said he was impressed by progress that had been made in developing the park. At that time he said he expected to make an announcement by the end of the year.

Company officials will be back at the site Wednesday for an update with local leaders.

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