Growth happening at UC Merced as fall semester gets underway

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The new semester at UC Merced starts bright and early with a ready check and a little encouragement from the Vice Chancellor, Charles Nies. (KFSN)

The new semester at UC Merced starts bright and early with a ready check and a little encouragement from the Vice Chancellor, Charles Nies.

"I feel badly for some of these students who have their 7:30 math classes this morning."

Nies seems to know everyone on campus, but there are a lot of new faces-- 2,300 of them. The most this university has ever seen on a first day of classes.

"The word is getting out there, UC Merced is here and it's an exciting time."

Yesenia Hernandez moved in Sunday, all the way from Southern California.

"I feel really excited but nervous at the same time."

Marco Laguna has similar feelings; he couldn't sleep last night and gave himself extra time to shake the nerves before class.

"Just excitement, I'm sure I'll be tired 1 o'clock, I'll be ready for a nap."

By 2020 Nies said there should be 10,000 students on campus. There will also be more buildings and student housing to accommodate them all and the construction is already happening.

"Very excited, also extremely sad," said Salma Memon, student.

It's sad for Memon because this is her last year here, but she said her career in the medical field will keep her close.

"I know I'll be in the Central Valley for a very, very, long time after this."

Back on the bridge with Mr. Nies the school year is just getting started and he has plenty of energy to go around.

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