Facebook parent Meta announces major expansion of its DeKalb data center
Facebook parent Meta on Wednesday announced a major expansion of its DeKalb data center, currently under construction.
The new plans call for an increase in the number of buildings on the campus located on the south side of the city from two to five, more than doubling the data center's square footage. Meta says the number of people permanently employed in operations at the center will also double, from a previously announced 100 jobs to 200. Another 1,200 workers are currently working to construct the center, now expected to be finished in 2023.
Local leaders lauded the announcement — and the company for being a strong partner for the common good through its Community Action Grants for schools and nonprofits, and other funding initiatives.
DeKalb Mayor Cohen Barnes, in a statement quoted by the company, said that “the impact Meta has made within the City of DeKalb goes beyond just an economic one...and I look forward, with this announcement, to seeing that partnership continue to grow over the years to come.”
Northern Illinois University President Lisa Freeman was also quoted in the announcement expressing appreciation for the company "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. Minerva Garcia-Sanchez, Superintendent of Schools, DeKalb CUSD 428 School District, said in the announcement that “District 428 is very excited about the opportunities the STEM grant and Community Action Grants will afford DeKalb students...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."
The company says, with the additions just announced, total investment in DeKalb and Illinois related to the data center will total more than $1 billion. Meta has also invested in wind energy farms in Morgan and DeWitt counties.
The company also says it is working to lower the carbon footprint of the data center, including through the wind farms and developing more "sustainable" construction techniques. It says the center is being built to operate well above industry standards for water efficiency — and will be powered by 100% renewable energy.