Vol 5. Issue 28 / September 26, 2005

Scripps Research Breaks Ground for Construction of Scripps Florida Campus

The Scripps Research Institute breaks ground today in Palm Beach County for construction of its 100-acre Scripps Florida campus, dedicated to advanced biomedical research and the application of the latest technologies in drug discovery.

This first phase of development, including construction of three buildings totaling 350,000 square feet of laboratory and research support facilities, is scheduled for completion in late 2007. The buildings will ultimately provide workspace for a minimum of 545 employees. Scripps Florida is currently operating with 154 staff at temporary facilities on the Florida Atlantic University campus in Jupiter.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Scripps Research President Richard A. Lerner, the Palm Beach County Commissioners, and Marshall Criser, head of the state's Scripps Florida Funding Corporation, gathered at the former orange grove known as Mecca Farms, now part of the Palm Beach County Research Village, at noon on Friday, September 23 to turn over the first shovelful of soil.

The scene was closed-circuit telecast to a group of some 250 staff and friends of Scripps Florida at the PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens. The Governor, Lerner, and County Commission Chairman Tony Masilotti delivered remarks to the guests shortly after returning from the groundbreaking site.

The Scripps Florida campus is the institute's only facility outside of its headquarters in La Jolla, California, a part of the City of San Diego.

"Today begins a new era for The Scripps Research Institute," said Lerner. "We take this opportunity to rededicate ourselves to the betterment of human health through our research, to fulfilling the Governor's vision that Scripps Florida will serve as the foundation for a world-class biomedical cluster in Florida, and to helping meet the County Commission's goals of bringing new jobs, educational opportunities, and businesses to this community and the region."

"Today's groundbreaking exemplifies the dynamic synergy and shared vision that exists between The Scripps Research Institute and Florida to lead the global effort in curing disease and improving human health," said Governor Bush. "I thank The Scripps Research Institute, the Florida Legislature, and the people of Florida for their unwavering commitment to Scripps Florida. I am truly excited about what the future holds for Florida in the realm of life sciences, particularly as we surge forward in biomedical research, advanced technologies, and discovery."

The groundbreaking marks a milestone in a process that began in October 2003, when plans for the new Scripps Florid campus were announced.

Subsequently, the Florida State Legislature appropriated $310 million to the Scripps Florida Funding Corporation for the institute's start-up costs, initial staffing, and scientific equipment purchases, made available to Scripps Research on request through 2010. Several jurisdictions were then invited to propose incentive packages to attract the research facilities to their communities and the institute selected the offer of Palm Beach County for 100 acres of land and funds to cover the building cost of this first phase of the Scripps Florida campus, approximately $137 million. Adjoining properties have been reserved by the County for the Palm Beach County Research Village, future home of biotech and pharmaceutical organizations, commercial interests, and residences.

The initial construction phase of the Scripps Florida campus will include three buildings—the Drug Discovery Building (99,000 square feet), Advanced Technologies/Administration Building (119,000 square feet), and Molecular/Biomedical Research Development Building (132,000 square feet) on approximately 44 acres of the 100-acre site. 

The Drug Discovery Building will house high throughput screening robots, nuclear magnetic resonance instruments, and biology and chemistry laboratories. The Advanced Technologies/Administration Building will include laboratories devoted to genomics and proteomics, biology, bioinformatics and research computing, and electron microscopy labs, as well as administrative offices, a food service area, a library, an auditorium, and classrooms. The Molecular/Biomedical Research Development Building will house the infectology and neurobiology departments, and additional biology laboratories.

Surrounded by lawns, the buildings will be connected by paved walkways, leading to a terrace. The site will overlook a 20-acre lake adjoining the campus.

The project was designed by Zeidler Partnership/Bohlin Cywinski Jackson: Architects in Joint Venture and construction is being managed by The Weitz Company/DPR Construction in Joint Venture. The program manager is Fluor Corporation.

In the mean time, Scripps Florida's temporary operating space on the campus of Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter will be expanded with a second building, of 30,000 square feet, to be completed in 2006. The temporary buildings will be turned over to the university when Scripps Florida moves to its new campus in late 2007.


Send comments to: mikaono[at]scripps.edu


Florida Governor Jeb Bush and other dignitaries break ground for Scripps Florida. Photo by Lucien Capehart Photography. click to enlarge