PRINEVILLE, Ore. - (Update: Comments from county officials, Executive Inn owner)
Facebook has given the city of Prineville a big Christmas present, as the still-growing social network announced a major expansion of its 8-year-old data center that will add nearly 1 million more square feet over the next four years.
Facebook purchased 240 acres from Crook County for $5.4 million. Crook County Judge Seth Crawford told NewsChannel 21 the money would be put in the reserve fund for a rainy day.
Crawford said Facebook enjoys working with county and city leaders when it comes to 'taking down the red tape and roadblocks' so businesses can thrive in the community.
He said the county is looking at attracting other industries to the area, and not just from the technology sector.
The Prineville campus currently has more than 200 full-time jobs. Crook County officials said they don't know how many jobs these two new data centers will create, but it'll expand the workforce.
Facebook works with the Central Oregon Community College open campus in Prineville, which provides a training class for people who want to work at the data center.
John Beach, the manager of Executive Inn in Prineville, said the hotel was full and had people on a waiting list last construction season.
The new data centers' construction is expected to last four years, and Beach said his hotel is prepared to house some of those workers.
The Executive Inn in Prineville offers rooms with kitchenettes, and they're usually booked by construction workers for the entire season.
"This January marks the eighth anniversary of breaking ground on the Prineville Data Center — our first custom-built data center," K.C. Timmons, a regional data center operations official, said in Tuesday's announcement, made -- where else? -- on the Prineville Data Center's Facebook page.
"Since that time, there has been a lot of activity on the site, including the completion of three buildings, for a total of 1.25 million square feet. In both the construction and operation of this data center, we have made it a priority to invest in the community, create positive impact, and be a great neighbor.
"Now, we are pleased to announce that we will be constructing two new buildings on our Prineville campus. We will break ground on our fourth data center building this month, which will begin serving traffic in 2020. Building five will break ground in 2018 and begin serving traffic in 2021.
"These new buildings — which total 900,000 square feet, plus 70,000 square feet for an administrative space connecting the two buildings — will represent a capital investment of hundreds of millions of dollars, which is in addition to the more than $1 billion we have already invested in the Prineville Data Center.
"This translates into keeping construction crews busy for another four years, plus additional full-time jobs as the data halls come online. As of September 2017, the Prineville Data Center supports more than 200 people working full-time, with approximately 75 percent living in Crook County.
"We continue to be thankful to the city of Prineville, Crook County, and the state of Oregon for their ongoing support of the Prineville Data Center, and we are excited to deepen our local investment. We have made Prineville our home, and we are proud to be a part of such a wonderful community.
"For current job opportunities, visit www.facebook.com/careers/locations/prineville.