After announcing plans to build a data center in Alabama way back in 2015, Google has announced it will break ground on the site on Monday, April 9.

Construction on the $600 million facility was originally planned to start in early 2016, then in 2017, but the project was repeatedly delayed for unknown reasons. “They’re a very secretive group,” Jackson County Schools Curriculum Supervisor A.J. Buckner said last year. “They are very, very, very, very secretive.”

Google behind closed doors
– Sebastian Moss

Oh, moon of Alabama, it’s time to say hello

The data center will be built on 350 acres of land off County Road 96 in Bridgeport, set on the site of the defunct Widows Creek coal-fired power station.

The Alabama Department of Commerce said: “Like nearly all of the tech giant’s other data centers, the facility in Bridgeport will be 100 percent powered by renewable energy - at no cost to efficiency.”

The groundbreaking will be celebrated with an invitation-only event featuring Governor Kay Ivey, Alabama 5th District US Representative Mo Brooks, Jackson County elected officials and school district leadership, business and community members, and senior Google staff.

Once fully operational, the data center is expected to employ 75-100 people across full-time and contractor roles. For Jackson County, the data center has been eagerly awaited by a community hit by the loss of a power plant that, at its peak, employed hundreds.