After two consecutive instances of racist graffiti last week, general contractor, Turner Construction, and Meta halted work on the massive $1.5 billion data center in Sarpy County, Nebraska. The first incident happened last Wednesday, which prompted a worker stand down the next day where the issue was addressed. However, on Friday, even after Turner had stressed its zero tolerance policy, another racial epithet was discovered in a location that had been previously scrubbed of graffiti.
“We do regular inspections across our projects, and we’re confident Friday’s graffiti was new,” Christopher McFadden, Turner vice president and spokesperson, told Construction Dive. “So the decision was made with Meta and with principals and trade partners to pause and do a bit of a reset on the path forward here.” The decision was made to shut the site down on Monday and as of Wednesday the site was still idle.
This is not the first time Turner has responded in this manner. The company previously paused work at Meta sites in Ohio and Iowa in response to similar racist incidents.
When asked why these incidents keep occurring on Meta and Turner sites, McFadden noted that it most likely is indicative of their forward facing approach to tackling the problem. “What Turner and Meta and others working on the Meta projects have committed to is speaking up and taking actions when we see something,” McFadden said. “I’m not confident that’s universal at this point, others may choose to deal with it differently. But we, collectively, have chosen to take very public action.”
McFadden wasn't certain of when work would resume nor could he estimate how much the stoppage was costing. But he noted that most importantly, the shutdown highlights how seriously Turner takes these hateful acts.
The data center is projected to be completed by late 2024.
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