Community celebrates grand opening of UC Merced

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The 45-million dollar campus center is open after more than a year of construction. (KFSN)

The 45-million dollar campus center is open after more than a year of construction.

It's just across the street from City Hall, and UC employees, as well as city officials, say that's a good thing because it will help facilitate business in Downtown Merced.

With a small snip, UC Merced's highly anticipated downtown campus is now open. More than 300 UC employees are expected to fill up the newly built center.

School students to assemblymembers were at the new site to witness the grand opening.

Assemblymember Adam Gray said, "This refocuses us on downtown and the revitalization of it. As people make new investments down here... We're going to have a new hotel that's being erected in Downtown Merced. Now we have the UC Merced building."

Inside there are no offices but an open space concept that university officials say will improve communication between departments. Employees will also be using technology to communicate with the main campus.

"Having us under one roof allows special synergy with one another, we'll be able to identify processing improvements and things we've really been wanting to work on as we are all together," Veronica Mendez said.

However, UC officials say the campus will not just benefit employees.

UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland said, "This building and its location are forged to build new ties between UC Merced and the community."

The goal is that the new building will help facilitate business in Downtown Merced.

"The construction of this structure is the physical manifestation of an increased investment in downtown," Merced Mayor Mike Murphy said.

"We're going to see new restaurants, new business, we're going to see new thriving nightlife on Main Street. These are all opportunities and improvements to the quality of life for folks that are here," Gray explains.

There is still some ongoing construction inside the center, but UC officials say the building should be completely finished in about a month.

Employees will start gradually moving in starting in February, everyone should be fully moved in by March.
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