IBM Opens Friday in Columbia

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COLUMBIA - IBM's technology service delivery center will hold a grand opening ceromony in Columbia Friday morning, a little more than a year after it was announced the national computer company had picked Columbia as the location for a new center.

The plant has been open for months though, and Friday's event appears to be just ceremonial without much significance for the particular day.

Mike Brooks, president of REDI (Regional Economic Development Inc.), said up to 800 jobs could eventually be created by the delivery center. But IBM hasn't hired that many yet and won't say how many people work there now.

Third Ward City Councilman Gary Kespohl expected that it would take about a year for all those jobs to fill up.

Kespohl and Brooks also said it's important for Columbia to have nationally recognized companies like IBM in order to expand the city's national profile.

"It gives us credibility with a company like that. They're national and they're probably going to be here a long time," Kespohl said.

The event will feature a ribbon cutting ceromony at the buliding's location on Lemone Industrial Boulevard at 10:00 a.m. Friday.