New Google

Google CEO Sundar Pichai (center) is surrounded by dignitaries including Gov. Kevin Stitt (left) and Oklahoma State University president Burns Hargis (right) at the announcement of a data center expansion at the Google facility in Pryor, on June 13. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World

Google, the internet brand behind the third most valuable company in the world, has increased its investment in Pryor again.

The California-based tech giant has a mammoth data center in the MidAmerica Industrial Park. Abundant electricity, space and a business-friendly environment have made Mayes County an ideal setting for Google.

The Pryor facility opened in 2011. As the company has grown, so, too, has its electronic storage needs. The Pryor facility went through significant expansions in 2012, 2016 and 2018.

The $600 million expansion announced last week is part of a $13 billion investment in data centers across the country and drives the company’s Oklahoma investment to $3 billion.

The Mayes County complex employs at least 500, and the expansion will increase it by 100, a company spokesman said. Pryor is the company’s second-largest facility in the world, trailing only the one in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

It’s undisputed that Google has been a good corporate citizen in Pryor.

Since Google arrived in Mayes County, “it has re-invested in local communities in many ways, including free public Wi-Fi in our downtown, (science, technology, engineering and math) and art programs for our students, technology infrastructure for higher education, training for our small businesses, teachers and nonprofits, technology and mentors for our classrooms,” Pryor Mayor Larry Lees told the Tulsa World’s Rhett Morgan.

Property tax collections in the area have risen so high that the local school district has left the school funding formula behind. Per-student funding for the school district is more than $10,000, more than $1,000 per child higher than the state average.

We welcome the latest Google expansion and hope the good news keeps coming out of Pryor.

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