Douglasville Mayor Harvey Persons observes students working on new Nexus 7 tablets.
On a recent spring day, students from Stewart Middle School in Douglasville were the first to use 100 new Nexus 7 tablets as part of the opening of a new computer lab at the Jesse Davis Park community center in Douglasville. Google donated the tablets to the community center and gave a $25,000 grant to the city of Douglasville to purchase computers and equipment for the community center. As part of Google’s Wi-Fi expansion effort in the city, free Wi-Fi was also installed in the community center.
“We are very excited to open the new Jesse Davis Park computer lab here in Douglasville. It is an amazing opportunity for local students to continue learning away from the classroom” said Jason Wellman, Google’s Douglas County operations manager. “We appreciate Douglasville’s and Douglas County’s continued support of our data center, and we look forward to an ongoing partnership that will bolster the education, and especially technical education, of every Douglasville and Douglas County student.”
Douglasville Mayor Harvey Persons said the city’s partnership with Google underscores the city’s efforts to prepare for the future.
“We are the type of community that businesses and people want to locate to because we see the need to be very proactive as it relates to technology and the better use of it,” Persons said. “There are only six Google data centers in the entire country and we have one right here is Douglasville.”
Wellman explained that a Google data center provides operating infrastructure to serve Google’s products and services like Gmail, Google’s web search, Google Plus and Google+ Hangouts. He added that Douglasville was chosen as site for a data center for a number of reasons.
“When we look at locations to build data centers there are a lot of things that go into consideration, but our ability to engage in the community and give back to the community is a critical part of that,” Wellman explained. “Also, the normal things we have to have to build a data center — developable land, power, water and available workforce — were here.” Wellman said Google was able to work with the local water authority to build a water plant down the street from the data center that uses greywater (typically water from household bathroom sinks, showers, tubs and washing machines). “The data center is cooled by greywater, which is used, cleaned and then discharged back into the Chattahoochee River.”
As for the computer and cash donations and free Wi-Fi expansion effort, Wellman said they are all part of the plan to bring more people online.
“It is part of Google’s philosophy that the more people who have access to the Internet the better off they will be as they will be able to solve problems and contribute to the knowledge base of the world,” Wellman explained. “Google’s mission is to take the world’s knowledge base and bring it online and make it searchable for everyone.”
Wellman noted that students need access to the Internet and technology to be able to succeed in an ever changing world.
“Today, some 17 percent of students do not have access to a home computer,” he said. “This new computer lab will allow students access to the Internet and computers, which they may not have available at home. Our hope is students come in here, learn how to use these things, get interested in technology, develop an affinity for it and get into some kind of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) related field after they graduate.”