Facebook broke ground on a new $188 million data center in Prineville. The 147,000-sq-ft facility is expected to create more than 200 jobs during its 12-month construction phase, led by the joint venture general contractor team of Redwood City, Calif.-based DPR Construction Inc. and Portland-based Fortis Construction.

Facebook Breaks Ground on $188 million Facility in Eastern Oregon
Photos courtesy Sheehan Partners
Facebook Breaks Ground on $188 million Facility in Eastern Oregon
Photos courtesy Sheehan Partners
Facebook Breaks Ground on $188 million Facility in Eastern Oregon
Photos courtesy Sheehan Partners

For its first building of this type, Facebook found that Prineville offered “a suitable climate for environmental cooling, renewable power resources, available land, talented regional workforce and supportive business environment,” says Tom Furlong, the company’s director of site operations. The custom data center is needed to provide storage space for the massive amounts of photos, video and data generated by Facebook’s 350 million users worldwide.

The facility was designed by Chicago architect Sheehan Partners to maximize energy efficiency and achieve LEED gold certification. Green mechanical strategies include an efficient evaporative cooling system that will be operated up to 70% of the year when humidity is low. During cooler months, outside air will be brought in. A portion of the heat generated by the project’s thousands of servers will be captured and re-used to heat office spaces.

Other sustainable features include the use of rainwater for landscaping and gray water; low-VOC finishes; use of Energy Star-compliant appliances; and low-flow fixtures and toilets.

When finished, the data center will employ at least 35 full-time workers and dozens more part-time and contract employees.

Prineville, located in eastern Oregon, has been especially hard hit by the recession. “This is great news for Prineville and really the entire state,” says Oregon Governor Kulongoski in a press release. “The stable, family-wage jobs and economic stimulus they will provide to this area during construction are a bright spot as this nation and this state climb out of this recession.”

Subcontractors involved in the project include Bend, Ore.-based Hooker Creek performing site work, R.F. Stearns Inc., Lake Oswego, Ore. as the steel contractor and the Hillsboro, Ore. office of Rosendin Electric as the electrical contractor.

Appropriately, the project has its’ own Facebook page at Facebook.com/prinevilledatacenter.