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Campus Begins Year with Ambitious Expansion Plans

February 3, 2014

The University of California, Merced, is searching for a development team that will prove instrumental in financing and significantly expanding the campus’ size and capacity to enroll 10,000 students by 2020.

Enrollment at the newest UC campus, which opened in 2005 with 875 students, has surged to nearly 6,200, creating severe space limitations on campus. The 2020 Project is a critical step to accommodate rapid growth in enrollment, which is expected to reach 10,000 students within the next six years.

In early spring 2014, the university will open a competitive process by issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ) for one or more development partners. (The RFQ will be the first of a two-stage RFQ/RFP process.) The selected development team will design and build approximately 1.5 million square feet of new teaching, research and residential facilities on a 219-acre, university-owned site adjacent to the existing campus. The university aims to have a team in place by year’s end, begin construction in 2015 and have buildings delivered by 2017.

“With student applications hitting new records each year, we need to add more buildings, facilities and housing quickly and cost-effectively to ensure as many qualified students as possible can be admitted,” Chancellor Dorothy Leland said.

Campus planners envision the expansion consisting of mixed-use facilities built in compact clusters to save development time and money. In May 2013, the UC Board of Regents approved an amendment to the campus’s master plan and certified an environmental impact report to enable the 2020 Project to move forward.

“We will look for a development team with a demonstrated track record and capacity to deliver dynamic, large-scale projects,” Vice Chancellor for Planning and Budget Daniel Feitelberg said. “The 2020 Project is structured to give us much greater flexibility in designing, building and financing sustainable, high-quality facilities for the next phase of growth.”

Details about the initiative can be found online

UC Merced has selected Jones Lang LaSalle to act as its development and financial advisor for the 2020 Project.

UC Merced is the first new UC campus in 40 years and the first American research university of the 21st century. Enrollment has grown rapidly, reflecting strong demand from students in the San Joaquin Valley and throughout the state. The campus has the largest percentage of first-generation college students, students from low-income families and students from underrepresented ethnic groups in the 10-campus UC system.

Through its discoveries in fields ranging from alternative energy to water resource management and health and cognitive sciences, UC Merced is contributing greatly to the economic recovery of the region, the state and the nation through important scientific breakthroughs, discoveries and inventions.

The university has won numerous awards for sustainable design and construction and is the only campus in the country to have earned LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for every one of its buildings.

When fully developed, UC Merced is expected to enroll some 25,000 students in undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines.