MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - Governor Nikki Haley and several other business leaders broke ground Friday on Google's expanded operations at the Mt. Holly Commerce Park in Berkeley County.
The additional $600 million investment at the data center site brings Google's total investment to over $1.2 billion.
"Growing our staff in the area, not just our own personal staff but growing the whole community at large is very dear to my heart," said Data Center Operations Manager Eric Wages. "We are trying to elevate education, science technology, engineering, math and all of those things."
The site has more than 500 acres of empty land. The data center in Berkeley County houses computer systems and associated components that support services such as Google search, Gmail, Google+ and YouTube. The company is growing capacity to meet demand for Google's services.
Wages said, "When Google first announced plans to come to Berkeley County in 2007, we were attracted to not only the energy infrastructure, developable land and available workforce, but also the extraordinary team from the local community that made us feel welcome. Today's announcement is just a continuation of our investment in the state. Google is proud to call Berkeley County home."
This is music to ears of those looking for jobs. The company now has 150 employees and will focus on hiring locally.
"We'll be looking at folks like security personnel, network engineering folks to take care of network systems, facility folks to help take care of our air conditioners and computer technicians to help swap hardware. All those kinds of support systems," said Wages.
Governor Haley said the expansion is a feather in our caps.
"Today's announcement is another big win for South Carolina," said Governor Haley. "We have BMW, Honda, Continental, Bridgestone, Michelin, Fuji Film and add Google. Basically what it does is when you've got good quality companies like this that has good paying jobs coming into our state, it makes other companies look."
Developers are still in the planning phase and don't yet have a set number of jobs that will be coming to Berkeley County. All jobs will be posted at Google.com/jobs.
"Google has been a part of South Carolina's business community for several years now and today's announcement reaffirms the company's commitment to our state. Investments like this not only create wealth but also help to sustain the surrounding communities," said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.
Google operates some of the world's most efficient data centers – the company's facilities consume 50 percent less energy than the typical data center. In 2007, Google made a voluntary commitment to become carbon neutral, and to reach this goal the company strives for efficiency and sustainable business practices. At the Berkeley County site, Google is experimenting with ways to collect storm water and use it to cool the servers inside the data center.
"When our community came together to develop this business park, we wanted to attract leading companies that would establish deep roots and grow," said state Sen. Paul Campbell. "Google's expansion is an example of how Berkeley County can serve the needs of the world's most innovative and dynamic companies. I hope Google's growth here prompts other growing businesses to put down roots here."
Google is also involved in supporting science and mathematics programs in local schools. Since 2008, it has awarded more than $885,000 in grants to local schools and nonprofits. It also has helped implement a free, downtown Wi-Fi network in Goose Creek.