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Groundbreaking launches Google data center in Papillion

PHOTO: Google HQ, Photo Date: 2/29/2016 / Photo: Ben Nuttall / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0 / (Source: MGN)
PHOTO: Google HQ, Photo Date: 2/29/2016 / Photo: Ben Nuttall / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0 / (Source: MGN)
Published: Oct. 4, 2019 at 7:16 AM CDT
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A $600 million addition to Nebraska's economy took root in a one-time Sarpy County cornfield Friday morning with the formal ceremony to launch Google's new data center near Papillion.

"The veil has officially been lifted," said Dan Harbeke, Google's Head of External Development.

Plans for the Papillion facility in Sarpy County were unmasked in February as part of the company's "$13 billion in investments throughout 2019 in data centers and offices across the U.S., with major expansions in 14 states."

Attendees for the official groundbreaking included Governor Pete Ricketts, Congressman Don Bacon, Papillion Mayor David Black and officials representing Sarpy County, Omaha Public Power District, the Greater Omaha Chamber and Google representatives.

Speakers at the Friday ceremony took turns calling this development the result teamwork.

Governor Pete Ricketts said, "This does not happen because of one person or one group."

Speaking on behalf of several organizations, OPPD President and CEO Tim Burke said, "A project like this is about partnership."

Rep. Don Bacon put out the Welcome Mat for the company - a welcome, "to Silicone Prairie." He added, "We are proud to have you."

The data center will be built on a 275-acre site on the west side of Papillion. Data centers for Facebook and Travelers Insurance will be among its future neighbors.

Google also has data centers in Council Bluffs.

Harbeke pointed out the company's Iowa facilities saying Google is no stranger to the neighborhood.

"These data centers are really the engines of the Internet," he said.

The latest engine should fire-up in Sarpy County over the next 18 to 24 months as the new operation is built. Officials have said it will employ at least 30 people.

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