Facebook continues expanding in central Iowa

ALTOONA, Iowa (KCCI) - The huge Facebook data center in central Iowa has submitted plans to expand again.

Facebook says there is no evidence that employees had abused access to this data. The company says the passwords were stored on internal company servers, no outsiders could access them. But the incident reveals a huge oversight for the company amid a slew of bruises and stumbles in the last couple of years.

It's already called the largest Facebook construction site in the world, just north of Interstate 80 in Altoona.

The Altoona City Council is considering a new development agreement, which would allow Facebook to continue to build here.

Six years ago, KCCI reported that a quiet farm field would become home to the world's most popular social media giant.

Now, there are six cavernous buildings, equaling a total of 2.5 million square feet, which is more than twice as large as 801 Grand downtown.

"When you drive by on the interstate, they look huge," Altoona Mayor Dean O'Connor said. "When you go inside, they're really huge."

It's a $1.5 billion data center in Des Moines' backyard. But Facebook isn't stopping.

City officials said the company is proposing a long-term plan to open the door to build more, adding more room to store your content on thousands of servers.

"This is kind of their plan now: three buildings and then an H style, but you never know, that could change tomorrow," O'Connor said.

The mayor can't give details, but it means hundreds of jobs for construction workers. Those workers say they hope to be on-site for 10 years.

There's also speculation that Facebook plans to buy more property to expand.

"I've heard from landowners they're looking at land, and I've heard from landowners they're wanting to sell to them," O'Connor said.

O'Connor said Facebook likes Iowa's workforce, and MidAmerican Energy can generate the electricity to handle the load.

"If we work out the details of the development agreement, this will be very good for the city," he said.

If the City Council approves the development agreement, Facebook is expected to submit a site plan and apply for a building permit. There's no word yet on when they would break ground.

A Facebook spokesperson said the company does not have anything to announce at this time.