The “Silicon Heartland” — the burgeoning tech industry of central Ohio — continues to grow. Meta, the parent company of Facebook, announced an expansion of its New Albany, Ohio Facebook data-center campus.
Naturally, the company announced its plans via a Facebook post.
This expansion raises the total investment in New Albany to over $1.5 billion, according to the post. Once complete, the data center will support 300 full-time jobs.
The expansion announcement is good news for the building trades. Roughly 1,200 union construction workers will remain onsite longer, while an additional 600 workers will be needed in the 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,” Katie Comer, Head of Data Center Community Development with Meta, told WCMH-TV. “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.”
The expansion will increase the size of the campus by 40 percent over its originally planned size of 2.5 million square-feet.
That’s good news not only for C/COBCTC affiliated members working on the jobsite, but also for the Building Futures Program, said Dorsey Hager, the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council.
“This announcement means even more work opportunities for the men and women of the Building Futures Program,” said Hager. “With all the current projects, plus Intel, and now this expansion, there has never been a better time to overcome career barriers and put yourself on a pathway to a middle-class life.
“We need to ramp up the program and ensure the workforce that is building the Facebook New Albany datacenter campus and this expansion, represents the community,” he added.
This project will allow some Building Futures graduates the opportunity to begin work, start their apprenticeship, top out and likely continue work at the same location as a journeyman, Hager pointed out. That kind of streamlined work opportunity is rare, but several recent central Ohio projects are forecasted for such long-term commitments. They are all technology companies in the Silicon Heartland.
“This investment is a reflection of how important Ohio has become in building the technology infrastructure of America,” said Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted in a prepared statement. “Whether it’s cloud infrastructure or computer chips, the future of the information sector and high-tech manufacturing are being built in Ohio, and we value the continued investment Meta is making in our state.”
Meta was a trailblazer to build in Licking County, noted State Sen. Jay Hottinger in a prepared statement.
“Now numerous other technology giants have followed its lead and located here,” he added.
The resulting tech boom has and will continue to create thousands of jobs for the union building trades members constructing the backbone of the Silicon Heartland.