UC Merced Update

Campus Seeks Development Solutions


Campus with Sierra Mountains

UC Merced has engaged the Urban Land Institute to help study alternative scenarios for meeting future capital-development needs.


A group of senior administrators has been preparing over the summer for a September visit from a team of experts from the Urban Land Institute (ULI), a nonprofit land-use and planning organization. The university has engaged with ULI to help study alternative scenarios for meeting future capital-development needs at UC Merced.

Because of the shortage of state funds for capital projects, on-campus space continues to fall short of the university’s needs for facilities that adequately support research, instructional, administrative and support functions. Although several new capital projects are under way, the campus’s development beyond the initial “golf course footprint” is severely challenged by enormous costs related to the expansion of infrastructure in a fiscal environment that remains severely constrained.

With a projected enrollment of 10,000 students within eight to 10 years, the university must find creative ways to meet that demand without relying on traditional state funding to finance the necessary classrooms, laboratories and other facilities.

“We must also consider viable alternatives for adding physical capacity — both on campus and off — that won't require significant construction, infrastructure or mitigation costs while remaining fully aligned with the institution’s academic and research mission,” said Chancellor Dorothy Leland.

The ULI will assist the university in identifying and evaluating a range of scenarios for meeting its future space needs. The ULI advisory services panel will consist of leading experts from across the country in fields ranging from urban planning to capital finance. When they arrive in September, team members will visit potential off-site locations for expansion, tour the developed and undeveloped portions of the campus and meet with university leadership and individuals within the greater Merced area to explore possibilities and develop proposals the university will then evaluate.