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Facebook facility construction fully under way, JDA says

Whit Carpenter News

Construction for the Facebook data center in Stanton Springs is well underway, said the Joint Development Authority, (JDA) a four-county board comprised of Morgan, Newton, Walton and Jasper.

“They’re pouring the concrete and erecting the steel frame,” said Chairman Alan Verner, who represents Morgan County on the board. “This will be the biggest electrical power load in the state of Georgia when completed.”

The JDA approved plans to build power lines and power substations for Facebook’s complex, according to Andrea Gray, representative for the board.

The first phase of the construction is to be completed within the next two years, said Shane Short, lead economic director for Stanton Springs.

“They may be finished sooner, depending on weather,” he said.  “We’ve had some rough weather recently which have caused some delays.” Phase one includes building two data halls that are 500,000 square feet each.

JDA addressed the extension of Shire Parkway across Dennis Creek. The construction is in the engineering and planning stages, according to Verner.

“Hopefully, we’ll be ready to bid out in October,” he said. The four-lane parkway is planned to be extended by 2,400 ft.

JDA approximates roughly $5 million for the parkway extension, which includes contingency plans, according to Gray.

“These are just preliminary estimates though,” she said. JDA will apply for the OneGeorgia grant to fund up to $500,000 of the project. The board also discussed updating its zoning ordinances. The Morgan, Newton and Walton counties are making the regulations consistent for prospective companies.

“We’re trying to make it more uniform and streamlined,” Gray said.

“It should be much further along by end of August,” Verner said. “The entire process may take two or three more months.”

The JDA reviewed fire service delivery changes within the counties. The plan will verify that each location is outfitted with necessary equipment.

“We want to make sure that the proper equipment is in place,” Verner said. “And we’re looking at improving the cooperation and communication between the counties.”

Morgan, Newton, Walton and Social Circle are determining how to respond to emergency situations.

“They’re working to coordinate an agreement,” Gray said.

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