U.C. Merced, expansion plan, merced,

MERCED, Calif.

The chancellor and her team want taller buildings that are closer together than previously planned. They're also proposing the university lease or buy a building in Downtown Merced to consolidate about 300 employees who currently work in different offices off campus.

They believe the new plan will save about $500-million in infrastructure costs because it doesn't require new water, electricity, and sewage lines to be added on undeveloped land. Officials say it may be the only way to reach the goal of 10-thousand students within the next ten years.

"Up until now we've been growing at about 750 students per year. This year we had to slow that growth to 300, and if we don't add more buildings in the coming years, we won't be able to accommodate more students," said Patti Waid, U.C. Merced.

The chancellor presented her team's idea to the Board of Regents on Wednesday. It will now go to U.C. Merced planning committee before the regents consider it again in May.

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