California Senate Budget Committee Reinstates Funding For UC Merced

MERCED, CA — The California State Senate Subcommittee on Education today reinstated $162.4 million in funds for UC Merced into the proposed state budget for the upcoming fiscal year, reversing an action taken two weeks ago that removed all one-time funding allocations from the budget.

The reinstatement came after testimony to the committee by UC Merced Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey, who indicated the importance of UC Merced in providing access to UC-eligible students and providing an economic engine for growth in the San Joaquin Valley.

In her testimony, Tomlinson-Keasey pointed out that, because of demographic trends, the UC system will be required to absorb an additional 60,000 students this decade, and UC Merced — which will ultimately enroll 25,000 students — has a critical role in helping the University achieve its mission. In addition, noted Tomlinson-Keasey, the UC system has played an important role in providing research and an educated workforce that has allowed for California to be a model for social and economic progress. She also testified that UC Merced would provide an economic engine for the San Joaquin Valley.

After the reinstatement, Tomlinson-Keasey said: "I applaud the support of the senate subcommittee on education, and the reinstatement of the UC Merced funding to the proposed budget for next year. We are anxious to continue our mission of providing educational access and economic progress to the San Joaquin Valley."

The funding allocation in the proposed state budget for 2001/02 provides funding for the initial creation of infrastructure and first three buildings of UC Merced.

The first buildings on the UC Merced campus will be:

Library/Information Technology Center — $56.5 Million

This project will support an array of new and traditional information resources and services, computer laboratories, instructional technology support, multimedia services, and library service instructional rooms.

Science and Engineering Building — $74 Million

This structure will house two of the three initial academic divisions of the new campus: Engineering and Natural Sciences. The building will be designed to provide superior laboratories and support space for research and teaching.

Classroom and Office Building — $26.6 Million

This building will house the third initial academic division: Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts. The structure will provide classroom and lecture hall space required for all of the initial divisions, plus administrative space.

UC Merced currently employs almost 65 educators and professionals. The University's main campus in Merced is currently being planned, and is expected to open in fall 2004 to serve 1,000 students. The campus will grow over coming decades to serve 25,000 students. UC Merced contributes to educational access through the entire San Joaquin region via special educational and outreach centers in Fresno and Bakersfield. A new UC Merced center will open in Modesto this summer.

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