Facebook Makes Expansion Plans Official with Ceremonial Groundbreaking

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Facebook ceremonial groundbreaking in Altoona May 21, 2019. (WHO-HD)

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ALTOONA, Iowa -- Facebook made it official Tuesday morning as the company announced it will add to its campus in Altoona.

City and state leaders gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking on two new buildings Tuesday. They did it inside because of the wet and windy weather.

Facebook currently has a 2.5 million square foot campus. It will add nearly a million square feet with the two new buildings. They plan to start construction this summer.

The city has a new development agreement with Facebook called a pilot, which means Facebook will make a payment per square foot in lieu of a tax. Mayor Dean O’Connor said, “This is incredibly valuable to us because it's cash in our general fund, so we can hire police. We can hire firefighters. We can fix our roads and continue to grow and develop Altoona.”

The addition also means more jobs. About 300 people currently work for Facebook's Altoona Data Center. That will grow to 400 with the expansion.

Site Director Brice Towns said Facebook has given more than 80 community action grants so far and will open up the application process again this fall. He added the data center is powered completely by renewable energy.

“Altoona is our home. We look to this partnership to continue to grow,” said Towns.

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