Facebook Welcomed into ‘Friend’ Fold


Social Network Company Give $105,000 to 24 Community Groups

Social media giant Facebook cemented a thriving economic friendship with Crook County as its new 150,000 square foot state-of-the-art data center was officially unveiled in Prineville – followed by a surprise appearance by the company’s wunderkind CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The facility – housing thousands of servers handling huge volumes of network traffic for millions of clients – is the first data center built and owned by Facebook and is at the vanguard of the industry in terms of reduced environmental impact and energy use.

Facebook’s commitment to operating sustainably saw innovators within the organization vigorously pursue new technologies to create one of the most energy efficient facilities of its kind in the world, with the building likely qualifying for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification.

In a groundbreaking spirit of camaraderie, the company is also sharing its cutting edge building design methodologies with the wider industry as part of the Open Commute Project.

As Facebook leaders joined state and local elected officials to officially unveil the center at a marquee event, director of technical operations Tom Furlong said, “This is a great opportunity to pause and reflect, and to celebrate and honor all the people who have partnered with us and welcomed us to help bring this project to fruition.

“This data center is built for energy efficiency and is a milestone for Facebook. The new computing capacity will enable us to offer great new social experiences, while setting new standards for environmental responsibility in data center design and operations.”

Furlong also thanked local and state officials for their support, adding: “We went from bare ground to serving users in 15 months. That doesn’t happen without the support of city, county and state leaders who have been so helpful in the first phase of the project.”

A second phase doubling the building’s size on the 120-acre site is already underway and slated for completion later this year, to increase storage capacity for the voluminous status updates, photo and video uploads that Facebook’s half-billion-plus users post every day.

Over the course of the project, more than 1,300 people have worked on the site, averaging out at around 250 workers a day, utilizing local contractors wherever feasible. Around 35 full-time employees will run and maintain each data center.
“Facebook has brought diversity to the job market at a time when unemployment has ranged from 17 to 20 percent,” said Prineville Mayor Betty Roppe. “During the past year Prineville has seen a loss of nearly 1,000 in population according to the US Census.
“Facebook’s arrival has opened the market for other business recruitment and their arrival has given the community a real shot of optimism.”
The social networking guru has pioneered several new technologies in the design and operation of the data center, much in evidence during tours of the building hosted for dignitaries and members of the media.
New energy efficient server designs and specialized software optimizes server capacity, while a low-energy evaporative cooling system which makes use of the low humidity climate of Central Oregon’s high desert – a major factor in the location decision – eliminates the need for traditional air conditioners to keep temperatures within the appropriate operating range.
Outside air is cooled using water jet misters that add humidity, while warm air from servers is utilized to raise the temperature of incoming air flow during winter months, and also for heating office space.
A unique 480 volt electrical system providing 277 volts directly to each server results in more efficient power usage throughout the entire facility; a ductless air distribution network lowers cost and complexity, and server racks designed to fit precisely into sea freight and trucking containers reduces shipping costs and environmental impact.
The building also employs proprietary uninterruptable power supply (UPS) technology that reduces electricity usage by up to 12 percent, and overall the data center uses 38 percent less energy to do the same work as Facebook’s existing comparable facilities.
In addition to the energy efficiency designed into the facility, the center incorporates best LEED-sanctioned practices including the use of rainwater to maintain landscaping and for “gray water” use in the facility and low water consumption technologies such as automated faucets and low flush toilets.
On a light note, quirky features synonymous with Facebook’s individual management style include a 1,600 pound carved “Sasquatch” sculpture which was spotted on the roadside by a contractor who worked on the project, and installed by the company as a feature of the reception lobby.
Other personalized touches in common areas include a tapestry created by local quilters, a selection of historic photographs from the area, and a series of visual representations depicting the evolution of communications from ancient times to the present (currently personified by Facebook).
Facebook Vice President of Technical Operations Jonathan Heilinger reiterated the company’s desire to be a good friend and partner, while Crook County Judge Mike McCabe said it had already made a positive impact on the community by sponsoring and supporting local programs and events.
And there was a surprise in store for the 300-plus attendees at a community party later in the evening when Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg made a special guest appearance to commemorate the opening – his first visit to the company’s groundbreaking new facility.
Zuckerberg told the crowd, “This is a massive milestone for us, building our first data center here.
“The team has designed it to be completely state of the art. This is a big step up for us from the leased space that we have been operating out of before. The experience has been great so far and we have learned a lot.”

Facebook Announces Grant Recipients
Facebook is making good on its vow to be a valued “friend” and supportive community partner at the home of its first wholly-owned data center, with the announcement of the first recipients of its inaugural Local Grants program in Prineville/Crook County – with around a quarter of the total going to local school district initiatives.

A spokesperson for the Facebook Prineville Data Center Team said, “We are committed to playing a positive role in the communities in which we operate through employee leadership, volunteerism, in-kind donations and more.

We’re also thankful to our contractors and their workers who have made generous contributions as well.

“While we work globally, nothing changes the fact that we live locally and want to harness our success to help strengthen our own communities.”

In that spirit, Facebook’s Prineville Data Center is donating approximately $105,000 per year in competitive grants for projects and/or organizations based in Crook County. Grant applications will be accepted annually between January 1 and March 17 with awards announced in April.

Facebook grants are available for projects only in Crook County “that put the power of technology to use for community benefit and help improve education
at all levels”.

As a company that uses technology to provide a medium to increase and enhance human interaction, Facebook says it will also be interested in proposals that help bring people together either physically or virtually and, with a reputation built on an ethos of constant innovation, will look to reward the most innovative proposals.

For the next funding cycle applications go to: www.facebook.com/prinevilledatacenter.
The 2011 Facebook Prineville Local Grant Recipients are:

Advantage Smiles for Kids (Redmond) – $3,000 to provide orthodontic and dental care for at-risk youth in the Prineville area.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Oregon (Prineville) – $1,500 to purchase both a table-top presentation board and a laptop. 

Class of 2011 Senior Parents – $2,000 to provide flash drives for students at the Senior All-Night Drug and Alcohol Free Party in June 2011.

Crook County Community Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP) (Prineville) – $10,000 to support the Facebook Puts a Smile on Crook County Face project, which provides dental services for children.

Crook County Fair & Fairgrounds – $15,839 to upgrade the lighting inside arenas bringing them up to date in the areas of energy efficiencies, provide safety for user groups and capture events that contribute to the economy of Prineville and Crook County.

Crook County Foundation – $5,000 for music for Picnic in the Park 2011, a popular event that strengthens community and expands cultural opportunities to a wide cross-section of the population.

Crook County High School ASPIRE Program – $2,500 + 4 Macbook Laptops to match with state grant will be used to pay one year’s salary for two part-time ASPIRE coordinators to help students realize their college options and process applications.

Crook County High School Math Department – $2,400 + Macbook Laptops to provide the funds necessary to purchase 30 graphing calculators to be shared in the Math Department.

Crook County High School Science Department – Macbook Laptops to provide Apple computers for direct instructional and student use.

Crook County High School Spanish Department – $5,000 + 6 Macbook Laptops to update technologies, such as smart pads and digital recording software, in the Spanish department, which will extend the program within and outside the classroom setting.

Crook County High School – $2,000 to purchase physical education equipment, including sports equipment and heart rate monitors to promote healthy exercise and help youth understand the exercise/heart health connection.
Crook County Kids, Inc. – $5,000 to provide for mats and flooring for Crook County Kids Club’s new FitFun Center. 
Crook County School District Facilities Department – $10,000 to fund for up to seven students to work for a period of eight weeks during the summer of 2011.

Crook County School District– $2,275 to provide handheld computerized learning devise for disadvantaged youth who attend or will attend Ochoco Elementary School.

Crook County Speech-Language Pathology Department – $4,685 to help pur-
chase iPads. 

Crooked River Elementary School  – Macbook Laptops Facebook will provide laptops to be used by teachers to deliver curriculum and enrich student learning experiences.

Friends of the Flag (Prineville) – $1,500 to support a lighting system for the American flag flown in Prineville.

Northwest Professional Rodeo Association – $5,000 to help fund the 2011 Northwest Professional Rodeo Association (NPRA) Finals being held in Prineville September 23-24, 2011.

Powell Butte Community Charter School – $2,000 to purchase 20 graphing calculators. 

Prineville – Crook County Chamber of Commerce – $5,000 to help finance the Summer in the Park event.

Serendipity West Foundation/Prineville Public School District –  $5,000 to support for Challenge Day programs at Crook County Middle and High School in spring 2012.

Start Making A Reader Today (SMART) – $2,000 to provide general operating support in Prineville/Crook County such as giveaway books for students, background checks for volunteers and recruiting and training of volunteer readers and coordinators.

The Miss Crook County/Miss Prineville Scholarship Program – $2,000 to help support operating costs of both the contest and scholarship program.

The Nature of Words – $2,000 to fund two Crook County author/instructors to teach creative writing in Crook County public schools, allowing The Nature of Words (NOW) to expand its Crook County residencies from two to four.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. CascadeBusNews.com • CBN@CascadeBusNews.com

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