UC Merced Opens First Buildings Of Campus Expansion
Less than two years after breaking ground on its unprecedented campus expansion, the University of California, Merced, recently celebrated the opening of the first three buildings of the Merced 2020 Project.
More than 400 people were on hand for an opening celebration Thursday, Aug. 16 including UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland and UC President Janet Napolitano. Leland and Napolitano also met with students Friday, and visited with more students and their families during move-in.
On Saturday, Aug. 18, students moved into two brand-new, mixed-use residence halls, which feature more than 700 beds in addition to classrooms and retail space.
“The capacity we are building right now will enable our future,” Leland said. “We will provide world-class education to more of the best and brightest students from California and beyond. We will grow our faculty thoughtfully and strategically to have the greatest possible impact in our areas of research excellence. We will become a powerhouse of innovation and transformation for the San Joaquin Valley.”
At final delivery in 2020, the $1.3 billion initiative will comprise 13 new buildings featuring new classrooms, research labs and student life facilities that will allow the university to accommodate up to 10,000 students.
The centerpiece of the project, and the site of last week’s celebration, is the Pavilion — an iconic 600-seat dining facility overlooking Little Lake. The Pavilion is complemented by two new residence halls that have been strategically designed to form a pedestrian-friendly corridor that blends housing with classrooms, study lounges and student activities.
The first phase expands UC Merced’s ability to provide access to a world-class education to more of California’s best and brightest students, and future phases will include state-of-the-art laboratories to help further the university’s research mission.
“We believe in the power of education to change lives and change the world for the better,” Napolitano said. “There is no better example of that than UC Merced, and this step marks a new chapter in the expansion of that opportunity.”
UC Merced opened in 2005 as the newest member of the University of California system, and is the youngest university to earn a Carnegie research classification. The fastest-growing public university in the nation, UC Merced enjoys a special connection with nearby Yosemite National Park, is on the cutting edge of sustainability in campus construction and design, and supports highachieving and dedicated students from the underserved San Joaquin Valley and throughout California.