MERCED – The University of California Board of
Regents today (March 19) approved two major long-range planning
documents for the University of California, Merced, marking a
significant milestone in the newest UC campus’s plans to enroll as
many as 25,000 students by 2035.
The 2009 Long-Range Development Plan (LRDP) and the
corresponding Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact
Report (EIS/EIR) provide a detailed preview of the physical layout,
character, sustainability objectives and environmental impacts for
the campus and its contiguous and associated university community
at full development. Publicly released in November, the EIS/EIR was
certified and the LRDP was adopted at the Regents’ regularly
scheduled meeting in Riverside today.
“Regental authorization of these two planning documents is a
major step forward for UC Merced and a tribute to the many people
at the university and in the public sector who helped to shape and
fine-tune these plans in recent years,” said UC Merced Chancellor
Steve Kang. “The Regents’ strong support renews our dedication to
the challenging task we’ve undertaken and reinforces our
determination to build a university that serves the people of
California with great distinction.”
Publication and Regental approval of the LRDP and certification
of the EIS/EIR are key steps in the process of developing a model
21st century campus and securing regulatory authorization for
future phases of construction of the campus and university
community, a contiguous development of housing and commercial,
retail, and entertainment venues supporting the campus. The U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), working in concert with the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), must issue development
permits under Section 404 of the U.S. Clean Water Act before the
next phase of campus construction can begin. The U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service also must issue a Biological Opinion related to
Phase 1 construction on the university’s current 104-acre site
is expected to be largely completed by 2012. Phases 2, 3 and 4 will
involve another 711 acres and will stretch out through 2035.
Construction of the university community will begin during phase 2
on an adjacent 1,951 acres directly south of the campus.
The 2009 LRDP and EIS/EIR are updates of earlier documents,
reflecting the university’s decision, announced in October 2007, to
modify the size and configuration of its planned development to
reduce impacts on vernal pool wetlands, achieve greater land-use
efficiency and accommodate future needs of the planned
25,000-student campus. The revisions reflect significant input from
public agencies, government officials, agricultural
representatives, environmental groups and the community at large.
The LRDP describes the four phases of campus development and
establishes ambitious new objectives for sustainability and
environmental stewardship. UC Merced believes the plan can serve as
a model for sustainable, higher-density development for the region.
It can be found at
The EIS/EIR examines the environmental effects of full
development and notes the reduced impacts the university’s revised
footprint will have on seasonal wetlands. The document is available
The public comment period on the Draft EIS/EIR officially closed
in January 2009. The USACE is now reviewing all comments and is
expected to issue its permit decision by late spring of this year.
Related news regarding campus planning and the
Campus Releases Updated Plans for Physical Layout, Character,
Sustainability Goals, Environmental Impacts of Full Development
(Nov. 7, 2008)
For information about US Green Building Council LEED awards
for UC Merced buildings:
UC Merced Receives Fourth LEED “Gold” for Environmental Certification
Third Building Awarded LEED “Gold” Certification for Environmental
Excellence (March 26, 2008)
Library Complex Awarded “Gold” LEED Certification (Jan. 18,
Central Plant Earns “Gold” LEED Award (March 13, 2007)