Google's South Carolina 'search' begins in Berkeley

Image by Geoff Marshall

An outdoor event commemorated the opening of Google's data center near Goose Creek on Tuesday, October 7.

The plant costs some $600 million and is expected to employ some 200. They're absolutely stalwart on not letting anyone in the building, but hopefully some day we'll be able to show you some of the more fun space inside of the building. The PR event took place in tents outside the main building -- still to be finished in some areas -- whilst a local bluegrass band played, food provided and even a Kids Area (complete with free Candy) for the selected locals who'd been invited and brought their children along. Governor Mark Sanford, Goose Creek Mayor Michael Heitzler and the CEO of Trident United Way Chris Kerrigan were among several people giving speeches welcoming Google. 

And Google said they're is keen to be a "good citizen" at a local level, and specifically employ someone to talk to people in the surrounding area. Additional car congestion and air pollution were two areas that were highlighted, and to that end offered generous relocation packages to move people who are working at the plant to be right near their place of work, cutting out a long commute.

Guest panelists included: - Michael Heitzler, mayor of Goose Creek - Bill Peagler, mayor of Moncks Corner - Governor Mark Sanford - Andy Johnson, manager for Global Data Center Development, Google - DAvid Ginn, president & CEO of Regional Economic Development Alliance - Elaine Morgan, CEO Chamber of Commerce of Berkeley County - Mark Dunlay, COO for Alcoa - Chris Kerrigan, CEO Trident United Way

Also hop over to the Charleston City Paper for more pics from the event, and Lowcountry Bloggers who has their own write-up and photos. Supporting the perception of Google as a philanthropic organization in the Lowcountry was Chris Kerrigan, CEO of Trident United Way, who enthusiastically thanked and praised Google for donating the proceeds from the sale of 500 acres of timber to the organization. Citing that this half million dollar donation was the largest donation ever made to this local organization. Funds from the timber sale went directly to programs such as the "Links to Success" program at St. Stephen Elementry School and St. Stephen Middle School in Berkley County, a program aimed at raising academic acheivement. The Charleston Regional Business Journal probably has the best business-minded write-up on the opening. The Google data center is not only putting Moncks Corner on the map, but the company also aims to bring and promote green initiatves to the Lowcountry. Before you know it, 29461 might just be the hottest zip code on the block. Update October 22: Industry site Data Center Knowledge has some interesting analysis on the Google facility, noting that this plant could be a shift in building design for the company.

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