UC Merced Breaks Ground on Fourth Academic Building

New facility will nearly double size of School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts

MERCED - With the ceremonial scooping of shovelfuls of dirt, the University of California, Merced, broke ground on the Social Sciences and Management Building today (July 21).

"This is an exciting day for UC Merced. This state-of-the-art facility will be the first new academic building since the campus opened in September 2005," said Chancellor Steve Kang. "The School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts has great breadth and variety, and we are looking forward to this much-needed expansion."

The three-story structure, which received design approval from the UC Regents in July 2007, will house teaching and research labs, art studio spaces, general classrooms and research lab offices. Once completed, it will nearly double the physical space occupied by the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, from a current 90,000 square feet to 192,000 square feet.

The building will also feature art studios for a variety of media and will be home to the planned Ernest and Julio Gallo School of Management and an entrepreneurship center. Its $38.5 million construction budget is funded by the State of California.

"This new facility will enable us to educate the next generation of leaders," Kang said. "It will give us the space needed to expand our academic programs and attract world-class students and faculty."

A leader in environmental stewardship and sustainability, UC Merced will emphasize "green" design and building practices for the new facility, consistent with its goal of becoming the only university campus in the country to earn LEED Gold or Silver certification for all of its buildings. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) is a program of the U.S. Green Building Council that rates buildings on a wide variety of environmental factors.

"Like all of our buildings, the Social Sciences and Management Building will meet the campus's high environmental standards, using 30 percent less water and 30 to 50 percent less energy than typical construction and using recycled materials in its ceiling tiles, carpets, concrete and furnishings," said Thomas Lollini, FAIA, UC Merced associate vice chancellor for physical planning, design and construction. "The building is also designed to allow up to a half-acre of solar energy panels to be installed on its roof."

Construction of the building is anticipated to begin in the fall, with a projected completion date of spring 2010.

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