PRINEVILLE, Ore. — Social media giant Facebook announced Thursday that it will add two new buildings to its campus in Prineville that will make it the largest in its fleet of data centers in the United States.
The two new buildings will add 900,000-square-feet to the campus, expanding the 11-building campus to 4.6-million-square-feet or the equivalent to nearly 80 football fields. Construction is poised to begin next month and should be complete by 2024. Two other buildings that were announced in June, will be completed in 2023.
Its investment in the Prineville center is about $2 billion, the company said.
Facebook opened the first data center in 2011 and employs as many as 1,000 people. The campus is in a city with a population of 10,000.
Prineville Mayor Jason Beebe called the expansion “great news” and said he believes it will help attract other businesses to the community.
“This latest investment into their site in Prineville is a continuation of the great partner they are for the City and the community,” Beebe said. “The technical jobs that come with expansions like these are great, but there is not as much focus on the jobs that are created from the trade industries. Plumbers, electricians, construction workers, and many more trades are in high demand at sites like Facebook’s and it continues to add to the job market in our area.”
Facebook’s data centers have worked to be energy and water-efficient. The Prineville center is supported by two solar projects. It also has a water restoration project to overcome increasing water demands to cool the center.
Typically data centers aren’t large employers for their size. They are drawn to the community because of Oregon tax breaks that provide tax exemptions, low power costs and stable weather. Apple also has a data center in Prineville.
The area where the data centers are located is called an enterprise zone that gives businesses property tax exemptions for a period of years. For Facebook, it’s 15 years.
The expansion, while applauded by city and state officials, was not embraced by Rick Steber, a Prineville businessman.
“I do realize there is a need for the services provided by Facebook and Apple centers, but it’s that old adage, not in my backyard,” Steber said. “They are an eyesore when viewed from anywhere on the north side of Prineville.
“The issue, like everything else in America, has people about evenly divided, for and against. I’m somewhere in the middle.”