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Meta announces expansion of New Albany data center, partnership with JA


Sketch of Meta's plans for New Albany data center

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Student wearing a face mask in front of Meta's JA BizTown shop

Image caption: 5th grade student from Slate Hill Elementary School at JA BizTown in February 2022, in front of the Meta shop

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NEW ALBANY, Ohio (WCMH) — Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has announced it is adding two additional data center buildings to its New Albany campus.  

A release from Meta says the latest additions to the five-building campus will bring its total investment in Ohio to $1.5 billion, will support 300 jobs once complete, and increase the number of construction workers on site from 1,200 to 1,800 for years to come. 

“We broke ground in New Albany in 2017 and we have been so incredibly proud to call New Albany and Ohio home and so we’re excited to continue our investment there in New Albany,” said Katie Comer, Head of Data Center Community Development with Meta.

“So this expansion will add an additional million square feet to the current investment of 2.5 million square feet. This will be a long-term construction project so it’ll last until 2028.”

Comer credits an increase in demand for data and the companies success so far in New Albany for the expansion.

“Our mission at Meta is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together and its so exciting that the New Albany data center is allowing us to be able do that, allowing our platforms to be utilized across the world,” Comer said.

“Our data centers are the backbone of what we do at Meta. Any time you’re sharing a video on Instagram or a reel on Facebook or an encrypted message through WhatsApp, none of that would be possible without our infrastructure and our data centers.”

As large as the center’s physical footprint will be, it aims to have an invisible footprint on the environment.

“Meta will continue to power 100% of its operations with renewable energy enroute to its goal of net zero emissions in its value chain by 2030,” the company stated in a release.

Currently, the nearly 2.5 million square foot data center campus holds servers tied into the massive infrastructure that supports billions of Facebook users.  

“When we come in, we listen to our neighbors,” Comer said. “We try to be good community partners through community grants or donations to the local school systems. We found a home here. And one of the things we love to do is provide support to that community based on the resources and the renewable resources that we utilize.”

As part of the expansion announcement, Meta also announced a $300,000 grant for Junior Achievement of Central Ohio, an organization that aims to teach skills like entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy to young people.

“The $300,000 commitment from Meta has been game-changing for us. It allows us to expand the engagement of students who need these programs desperately, both at the elementary and the middle and high school level. We have activities at each of those levels so kids build that sophistication,” said Mike Davis, President of Junior Achievement of Central Ohio.

Through it’s BizTown experience, Junior Achievement of Central Ohio combines the teachings of the classroom with a simulated experience running a business in Central Ohio, like Meta or Cardinal Health.

“They spend a couple weeks preparing to arrive, they’re here for 4 and a half hours and then they run the world – these 5th graders. They take out loans at the beginning of the day. They price their products. They pay payroll, utility costs, advertising expenses…and then at the end of the day, the goal was: did you make a profit in your business?” Davis said.

“It’s amazing to see these young people navigate pricing products, negotiating, trying to buy products and work together as a team.”

Davis says thanks to community partners like Meta, they might be able to inspire the next Mark Zuckerburg right here in Columbus.

“We don’t wanna wait until kids are in late high school or after high school or early college to try and figure out what their interests and skills are. We want them to start developing those things literally in elementary school so they can explore it in middle school and go experience it in high school and determine where their interests and future lies,” Davis said.

“When they’re here, the light does go on. You do see sparks and you see things start to happen in their head where they make those connections and it’s incredibly energizing for them. We know through our data that the kids are engaged much more in school months after they attend our programs than they were before, because they’re making the connection to ‘what I’m doing in school’ to ‘what I’m going to be able to utilize in my life,'” Davis concluded.

Image caption: Screen grab from NBC4's coverage of Meta announcement

View NBC4's coverage of Meta announcement, including coverage of JA BizTown: META announces expansion of data center.

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