New UC Merced buildings expected to open this fall

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Construction is moving quickly, so quick that the UC Merced campus is already getting ready to open the first three buildings of the 2020 Project in just a few months.

"I think the most exciting thing for staff students and faculty is seeing this university take the next step in its incredible trajectory," said UC Merced Richard Cummings.

The Dining Pavilion will seat 600 people when it opens in August. Two new residence halls will open, creating 712 beds for students.

They will also have classrooms on the first floor and with more students coming in, UC officials say they need the space.

"In just one month, we'll graduate our largest class ever. This fall well admit our largest freshman class ever, so the need for growth and additional facilities is definitely clear," said Cummings.

This is just a small portion of $1.3 billion project.

Yosief Ghebresilasie is one of the students who is not only seeing the growth but helping create it.

"It's been crazy to be directly involved with the expansion of the university I'm attending. It's unthinkable, but it's been an amazing journey," said Ghebresilasie

He is one of the many engineering students interning through WebCore, which allows the students to build their resume right on their own campus

"We go to school, and we're building a school. It's a different kind of experience. I don't think a lot of people get to experience that," said UC Merced Engineering Student Dawit Tekeste.

While the students on campus will enjoy the space, UC officials say the entire region will reap the benefits.

"We estimate it'll be $1.9 billion in economic impact through the Valley. After it's complete with new student and staff, we estimate $200 million a year of impact in this region," said Cummings.

As far as the rest of the project, the campus is working on building another 12 buildings throughout the next three years.
Copyright © 2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.