FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Part of a $1.3 billion project to expand the campus at UC Merced is finally complete, and on Thursday the community got the chance to see it for the first time.
Hundreds gathered for the unveiling highlighting the new development that includes a 3,700 square foot dining hall that seats 600 people.
There are also two buildings for student housing with nearly 730 beds and 20 classrooms on the ground level for student learning and to top it off, an NCAA-level soccer field.
Vice Chancellor Veronica Mendez says this is going to improve the quality of live for both students and faculty.
"They can sleep upstairs, go to classrooms on the first floor, eat close by, and have a field so they can play on campus, bringing all those services for generations of students."
Many of those students like Luis Valenzeula are glad to see the vision come to life.
"When I came here they were still working on COB 2. Once that was finished it, it just added so much more to the campus, added so much more to the growth. It is really paving the way to how we're going to be in like 30 to 20 more years.
Congressman Jim Costa echoes those same sentiments. He says the continued growth is going to leave a positive impact on the Central Valley.
"Tonight is a milestone not only for the students and faculty, but also for our Valley, so go Bobcats!"
Right now, 20 percent of the entire project is done with the completion of phase one.
When it is all finished, which is expected to happen by fall of 2020, the campus will nearly double in size allowing room for up to 10,000 students.
UC Merced celebrates opening of new buildings, part of $1.3 billion campus expansion project