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The original item was published from 4/27/2022 2:36:33 PM to 4/29/2022 11:41:17 AM.

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City of DeKalb News

Posted on: April 27, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Meta Expanding DeKalb Data Center

Rendering of the Meta DeKalb Data Center

From Meta: Today we are announcing the expansion of the Meta DeKalb Data Center. This will more than double the square footage of the data center from two buildings to five. With this announcement, this data center represents a total investment of more than $1 billion in DeKalb and Illinois. We’ll keep construction workers on site for years to come, and at the completion of the work, we will support over 200 operational jobs at the DeKalb Data Center. 

When we announced we were building our 12th U.S. data center in DeKalb in June 2020, we talked about the reasons we chose DeKalb: good access to renewable energy, a strong pool of talent, and a great set of community partners. Since then, we’ve moved 1.4M tons of dirt, we’ve poured 10,500 cubic yards of concrete, and erected 7,500 tons of steel. Everything in DeKalb is exactly as promised, and we’re so excited to continue growing here in this community. 

At Meta, we are committed to playing a positive role and investing in the long-term vitality of the communities in which we operate. One of the ways we do this is by funding projects that meet community needs through our Community Action Grants program. Meta’s Community Action Grants are available to schools and registered 501c3 non-profit organizations in locations where Meta has an online data center. We’re excited to announce the application window for the Community Action Grants program will launch in DeKalb County in the fall of 2022. For more information, you can visit: https://datacenters.fb.com/grants/. To further enhance the local impact of this announcement, Meta also provided a $50,000 grant to support STEM materials and opportunities in 2022 for elementary and secondary students in DeKalb Community School District 428.

We are also announcing an exciting Illinois partnership that is helping the company - and has the potential to eventually help others - lower the carbon footprint of our construction. We are collaborating with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on a pilot with the goal of developing a more sustainable concrete mix. The process uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help experts generate the possible formulas for the concrete mixes. This work helps us move toward further reduction of our carbon footprint to reach net zero emissions across our value chain in 2030. Through collaboration with our concrete trade partner, Ozinga, the formula was refined and test applications were poured into non-critical areas of the DeKalb Data Center. These test applications confirm early signs that we have been able to successfully design and use concrete that meets our long-term strength requirements and has a 40 percent lower carbon impact than the regional benchmark. While we are encouraged by the success of this pilot, further developments and tests are needed to scale the impact of this innovation. 

In Illinois, we have invested in two new wind energy projects in Morgan and DeWitt counties, adding a total of 295 MW of renewable energy to the local grid. These renewable energy projects represent over $140 million in local investment and will support nearly 700 construction jobs. Project operations will support 30 jobs annually across the state. Meta data centers are on average 80% more water efficient than the industry standard, and the company’s global operations, including the DeKalb Data Center, are supported by 100% renewable energy.

All of this work would not be possible without our trade partners, and we recently cheered for our first Meta DeKalb Data Center Hardhat in Hand (HHH) cohort. HHH is a nationwide construction jobs training program held at Meta data center construction sites. The six DeKalb Data Center graduates were trained by Mortenson Construction and the Awaken Foundation (education partner) over an intensive eight week training period and are now eligible for jobs with Mortenson or other trade partners. 

We have made ourselves at home here in DeKalb! As we continue to build out the DeKalb Data Center, Meta remains dedicated to working with our community partners to connect with our neighbors, improve STEM education and assist with economic development. Thank you, DeKalb, for two years of partnership - here we go again!

QUOTES

“The impact Meta has made within the City of DeKalb goes beyond just an economic one. Since day one, they have made a concerted effort to make a larger impact on DeKalb, and I look forward, with this announcement, to seeing that partnership continue to grow over the years to come.” - Cohen Barnes, Mayor, City of DeKalb

“From the moment Meta announced its intention to develop its facility in DeKalb County, company representatives began engaging with the community in meaningful ways: as a thought partner on local issues, a generous supporter of community events and a progressive employer.  We look forward to expanding our excellent partnership with Meta to advance our mutual goals for advancing equitable economic development, innovation and educational attainment for the region.”  - Dr. Lisa Freeman, President, Northern Illinois University

“District 428 is very excited about the opportunities the STEM grant and Community Action Grants will afford DeKalb students. The grant will bring fidelity and enhancements to existing projects and services we have in place to foster future ready students for a global society. Our students and staff are excited about our partnership as is evidenced by the waiting list for our summer programming around STEM, that will utilize the benefits of our relationship.  Meta continues to be a great partner to the District. We look forward to the future as we transform from being known as an agricultural community to one of the leading technological centers in the nation and we look forward to our future endeavors.” - Dr. Minerva Garcia-Sanchez, Superintendent of Schools, DeKalb CUSD 428 School District

“With more than 1,200 construction workers on site every day at the Meta DeKalb Data Center and the plans to support hundreds of permanent employees when fully operational, all of Illinois can agree the data center project has been a boon to Illinois and a great benefit to the City of DeKalb and DeKalb County. The expansion proves Illinois, and specifically DeKalb County, can meet the needs of large global companies which require a skilled workforce, modern infrastructure, and a strong and competitive business environment.” - said Paul Borek, Executive Director, DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation.

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