Great Relationships: Serving the Scripps Research Institute’s Needs on Projects of All Sizes

On the TSRI IMM project, DPR retrofitted a laboratory while the building remained in full operation.
DPR ventured to Florida to build TSRI's new three-building campus.
The team turned over all three buildings before their scheduled completion dates.
Since the 1990s DPR and TSRI have worked together on projects from $30,000 to $158 million.

DPR Continues to Build Lasting Relationship with Renowned Research Institute Backed by more than 70 Projects, Decade-Long Presence on La Jolla Campus, Recent Completion of New Florida Facility

From its longtime presence on The Scripps Research Institute’s (TSRI) La Jolla, CA campus to its recent completion of a new $158 million campus in Jupiter, FL, DPR has built an enduring relationship with TSRI over the past decade that has spanned an array of projects ranging in size and complexity.

Maintaining a continuous presence on TSRI’s La Jolla campus since the late 1990s, DPR has completed nearly $100 million worth of work onsite for this world-class leader in bioscience research. Projects have run the gamut from a $30,000 office upgrade to a $40 million new construction project and everything in between, including numerous laboratory retrofits and upgrades, data centers, site work, loading dock improvements, and more.

Team Players

Project: Immunology Building Phase II

Client: The Scripps Research Institute

Architect: HDR, INC.

“Like most of our other business, our work with Scripps is very relationship driven. I’ve been working on the La Jolla campus for nearly 10 years, along with Superintendent Matthew Smith and MEP Coordinator Jim Clare, who relocated to Florida a couple of years ago to help out on the new campus project,” said DPR Project Manager Zach Pannier. “We’re focused on Scripps and understanding the way they do business, understanding their standards, and continuing to meet and exceed their expectations.”

Pete Herold, TSRI’s director of facilities, planning and construction, concurs. “DPR has proven to be excellent at more complicated projects. Their expertise in biotech has helped us a lot,” he said. “I keep going back to them time after time because of their experience and knowledge.”


Currently on the La Jolla campus, DPR is in the midst of a Phase II retrofit of TSRI’s Immunology (IMM) building. The project entails retrofitting the entire infrastructure of the 30-year-old laboratory building, all while the building remains in full operation with minimal impact to the ongoing research within.

Although most of TSRI’s work must adhere to federal competitive bidding requirements due to its funding through the National Institute of Health, DPR secured both phases of this project on a negotiated basis because it was deemed to be uniquely qualified and knowledgeable about the project’s complex requirements. DPR’s proven ability to minimize the budget and schedule through its BIM capability, as well as its expertise utilizing high definition scan technology in its modeling, were key to being selected, according to Pannier.

Phase I of the IMM project, valued at approximately $6 million and completed in November 2007, entailed the complete electrical and HVAC upgrade to an existing laboratory. For the $5 million Phase II project, DPR replaced the entire exhaust, fire protection and electrical distribution systems. The project was completed in early June, some one-and-a-half months ahead of the contractual completion date.


The long-term relationship DPR forged with TSRI in California led to DPR’s involvement in its new three-building campus project in Jupiter, FL, a region in which neither company had a presence when the planning phase began in 2004. DPR undertook the job in a joint venture with a local Florida builder, the Weitz Company. The project, totaling 350,000 sq. ft., faced many challenges and traveled a long and circuitous road to completion in fall of 2008.

As the cornerstone of an initiative by the State of Florida, and then Gov. Jebb Bush, to bring the biotech industry into the state in 2004, TSRI initially set out to build a new research park on 100 acres in Palm Beach County. The undeveloped land became mired in legal environmental challenges, which ultimately halted the job in November of 2005 after construction had begun.

Team Players

Project: Research Campus Phase I

Client: The Scripps Research Institute

Architects: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson; Zeidler Partnership Ltd

TSRI chose a new site for the project on the Jupiter campus of Florida Atlantic University. The building’s infrastructure was redesigned to fit the new site, and DPR took on the challenge of lining up qualified subcontractors to restart the job–no easy task in the area’s hot condo construction market at the time.

“The magnitude of this type of technical project was very new for this area,” said DPR’s Deborah Beetson. “The big challenge we faced was finding subcontractors who had technical experience and who were prepared to build a laboratory facility for a client with high quality expectations. We helped the subcontractors work through a learning curve in understanding the process and the level of detail and quality that was expected by both DPR and Scripps, while meeting the aggressive schedule.”

The team was successful and turned over the first building last October, about 45 days early, and the second two buildings in November, also ahead of the December completion date.

As a result of its involvement on TSRI’s Florida job, DPR has established an office in West Palm Beach and will continue to help customers expand the life sciences industry in the area. DPR also will maintain a presence on TSRI’s Florida campus just as it has in La Jolla. And back in California, the work continues as DPR helps TSRI chart a path to improve the energy efficiency on its 1 million-sq.-ft. campus through renovations utilizing LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance, initially starting with one or two buildings as a pilot project.