UC Merced Poised for Growth, Construction

March 25, 2010

University of California Board of Regents accepts 10-year capital improvement plan, which calls for more academic buildings, research space and student housing

Cathedral and Tenaya residence halls Cathedral and Tenaya halls will be ready for the freshman class of 2010.

MERCED, Calif. — University of California Board of Regents on Thursday accepted UC Merced's 10-year, $1.129 billion capital improvement plan, which will guide the university's physical expansion to serve more than 11,000 students by 2020.

The regents also authorized UC Merced to oversee and manage construction projects that cost less than $60 million, part of a pilot program to streamline the capital improvement process.

In the coming decade, UC Merced anticipates needing $519 million for instruction and research buildings, $144 million for infrastructure improvements and $131 million for student housing. More than half of the funding may come from the state, while external financing, campus funds and gifts will make up the balance.

"We need a significant infusion of funds in the next 10 years if we are to grow at projected rates," said Mary Miller, vice chancellor for administration.

The capital improvement plan was written to support the university's Strategic Academic Vision 2025(SAV). The SAV outlines how the campus will grow its programs and course offerings over the next 15 years to continue with its mission to become a leading 21st-century research university with a distinguished reputation for academic excellence, cutting-edge research and community service.

The Social Sciences and Management Building The Social Sciences and Management Building is scheduled to be done by fall 2011.

Three campus buildings are in the midst of construction. Tenaya Hall and Cathedral Hall, part of The Summitshousing complex, will be home to some of next year's freshman class. Each building has four floors and was designed in the traditional corridor style, with five bedrooms sharing a common restroom.

The Social Sciences and Management building, on the eastern edge of campus, will add much-needed instructional space for fall 2011. Even with these three buildings close to being completed, the university is still in need of additional space for classes and research, Miller said.

UC Merced anticipates investing $15 million to renovate space at the Castle Commerce Center so it can be used for intensive research projects. The campus also is also anticipating breaking ground soon on the $85 million Science and Engineering Building II. The capital improvement plan calls for the Castle renovation and building construction in the 2010-11 academic year.

In the next decade, the university also has plans for three new academic buildings, a multipurpose recreation field, more housing and a student union building. (Any nonacademic buildings or projects, under California law, can't be built with state funds. Students fees, gifts and external financing will be used for such projects.)

During the Board of Regents meeting Wednesday, UC Merced Chancellor Steve Kang underscored the importance of continued support from the Office of the President and outlined a three-year strategy to ensure the university's continued success. The strategy includes UCOP's assistance with increasing campus enrollment by 650 students each year through 2013-14 and continuing to seek ways to provide much-needed additional instructional space for students and faculty.

"We are strategically positioning UC Merced to emerge from the state's economic downturn poised for robust growth," Kang told the regents.

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