By CINDY GONZALEZ
OMAHA — The Sarpy County campus of social media giant Meta has been on continuous growth since it broke ground five years ago on two buildings in Papillion.
What started as 1 million square feet of data center has expanded to the point that construction crossed into another city — requiring a more inclusive name change.
A highway overpass was even built earlier to connect parts of the spreading complex.
4 million square feet
On Thursday, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other apps announced yet another expansion plan to add a ninth structure in Sarpy County. That will increase the facility’s sprawl to beyond 4 million square feet of data center space in Papillion and Springfield.
“This has continued largely unabated since 2017,” said Matt Sexton, the company’s community development manager. “It’s Meta’s only data center in the world that includes two municipalities.”
Collectively, he said, the total investment into the “Sarpy Data Center” is expected to exceed $1.5 billion.
Currently, more than 150 full-time employees work among the six operational buildings that all are in Papillion, Sexton said. When the three Springfield structures are fully constructed and operational (including the most recent one announced), that employee count is expected to double, he said.
Sexton said that doesn’t include construction and skilled trades workers who will have work through 2024. At peak construction, Sexton said, about 2,000 construction workers, many local, were at the site.
Sexton describes the Sarpy Data Center as the “physical backbone and infrastructure that powers our apps and services worldwide.”
He said that at some point, users of the apps likely interface with the Sarpy servers and computers that are used to transmit and store data globally.
An announcement shared on the Sarpy Data Center Facebook page said that since 2017, Meta has moved over 3 million cubic yards of dirt and erected more than 6,000 tons of steel.