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DeKalb leaders weigh in on Facebook’s new data center

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DEKALB, Ill. (WREX) — Facebook is coming to DeKalb. That's where the social media giant is building a multi-million dollar data center.

Facebook currently has 12 data centers in the entire county and 16 in the entire world.

What is now a construction site in DeKalb will soon be Facebook's newest data center.

"DeKalb has for a long time been searching for a new identity. Facebook is giving us that opportunity," said DeKalb City Manager Bill Nicklas.

Facebook says the $800 million project will improve connections with communities across the globe.

"A data center itself is the back bone of our infrastructure. It makes sure that when you pick up your device, whether it's a laptop or whether it's a phone, that you're able to use Facebook or Messenger or WhatsApp or Instagram and reach your friends and family around the world," said Facebook Director of Environment Energy and Site Selection Bobby Hollis.

The technology site will rely 100 percent on renewable energy and use 80 percent less water than the other 15 sites. Something Hollis says was highly important when choosing the location.

"We come in and make sure that we're using the least amount of energy possible, the least amount of water possible and then after that is when we make sure we actually source renewable energy for the energy that we do use," said Hollis.

Community leaders spoke on a video Facebook posted that the center will open doors now and in the future.

"We're going to have more property tax revenue. We're going to have more growth in population. We're going to have a resulting increase in sales taxes," said DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith.

"So construction will have upwards of 1,000 jobs at any point in time and it will stretch out over several years. This is a real commitment to the community for the long term and once we actually get up and running we'll have over 100 jobs for people that will be part of the Facebook family long term: engineers, operations folks" said Hollis.

Planting roots in DeKalb, hoping to grow innovation.

Hollis says the contractor for the data center is Mortenson. Construction can start immediately.

Cassandra Bretl

Multimedia Journalist
Cassandra is the morning reporter for 13 News Today.
She joined the WREX team in July of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee with a major, minor and a certificate.
She is excited to bring her skills back to the 815 where she is originally from.
You can contact Cassandra at cbretl@wrex.com

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