Phase III included the addition of a 60,000-sq.-ft. new central utility plant as well as the build-out of an additional 40,000-sq.-ft. area of computer equipment. (Photo by Ed Asmus Photography)
The project was completed on schedule, within budget, and most significantly, with no impact to the existing operations. (Photo by Ed Asmus Photography)
Use of a vibration monitoring system prevented any impacts to servers during excavation in the hard bedrock. (Photo by Ed Asmus Photography)

Strong, Collaborative Team Expands Upon Data Center for Kaiser Permanente

The world’s first data center to achieve LEED® Platinum for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (EBOM) gets electrical and mechanical capacity upgrades; project completed without disruption to existing operations

Team Players

Project: Kaiser Permanente Data Center Phase III

Customer: Recognized as one of America’s leading healthcare providers and not-for-profit health plans, Kaiser Permanente was founded in 1945 and currently serves more than 9 million members.

Architect: Hawley Peterson Snyder

Project Highlights:

  • Phase III included a 60,000-sq.-ft. addition of a new central utility plant and build-out of 40,000 sq. ft.
  • Use of a vibration monitoring system, BIM, and 3D laser scanning protected the existing, operational data center.
  • Phase III is currently seeking LEED Gold certification.

When it comes to high stakes projects, few compare to the intricate nature of the Kaiser Permanente Data Center Phase III project in Northern California. The latest in a series of projects that DPR has built on this Kaiser Permanente campus, the project involved:

  • a 60,000-sq.-ft. new central utility plant addition to increase electrical and mechanical capacity at the existing, fully operational 157,000-sq.-ft. data center; and
  • the build-out of an additional 40,000-sq.-ft. area of computer equipment in the existing second-floor shell space.

As noted in DPR’s Future of Healthcare study—a research initiative conducted to better understand the long-term trends facing healthcare owners—managing data and electronic medical records is an integral consideration in healthcare. Medical caregivers use electronic health information to make vital, sometimes lifesaving, decisions every day.


While data center projects are already technical and complex, it was also imperative to maintain uninterrupted access to the information located in the existing healthcare data center during the expansion. Thanks to a highly collaborative and experienced team, this project successfully reached substantial completion in November of last year with no impact to the existing facility.

“If you were to drop into any of the project meetings and didn’t know who the players were, it would be hard to tell who worked for each company,” said DPR’s Nils Blomquist. “There was just a high degree of trust, and people never looked at things like, ‘what’s best for my company,’ it was ‘what’s best for the project.’ The Kaiser Permanente facility engineers were really integral to our design and construction process. They were sharp, responsive and supportive every step of the way.”


Kaiser Permanente’s Vice President of Data Center Solutions, Steve Press, was closely involved in the project. “Building a data center from scratch would be challenge enough, but trying to expand one while it is operating and not cause a single interruption in the delivery of IT service is a pretty big goal and achievement,” he said. “We challenged the team to work together and really challenge each other to look for better ways to deliver this project.”

Press cited the collaborative redesign of the generator plant as one example of the team’s innovative, cost-saving strategies. The redesign ultimately reduced the total number of generators installed while offering the same efficiency at a significantly lower cost.

The team undertook a variety of measures to protect the operational data center during construction of the Phase III project, such as:

  • the use of a vibration monitoring system to prevent any impacts to servers during excavation in the hard bedrock;
  • a high level of building information modeling (BIM) that virtually eliminated conflicts or changes during field installation; and
  • 3D laser scanning of the existing 20-year-old building.

One of the most challenging tasks involved the re-circuiting work to switch over portions of the electrical distribution equipment from the old plant to the new one. Flawlessly performed during three well-planned weekend closures, the work was highly scripted down to the minute and involved hundreds of detailed steps.

Ultimately, all of the work contributed to a project completed on schedule, within budget, and most significantly, with no impact to the existing operations. 


Phase III is currently targeting LEED Gold certification and represents Kaiser Permanente’s continuing commitment to environmental stewardship. That commitment is further exemplified in the original Kaiser Permanente data center renovation project completed by DPR. It gained recognition as the world’s first data center facility to achieve LEED Platinum certification for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (EBOM), which measures actual building performance over a specified period.