UC Merced placing final touches on campus expansion

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- UC Merced's phase two expansion is inching closer to completion.

Next month, when the fall semester starts, faculty and students will have an additional 1.2 million gross square feet of learning space, meeting demand. That includes new buildings, like the four-story sustainability research and engineering building. Inside the building is where the university's first-ever center of excellence will be housed inside.

"It will house approximately 26 teaching labs and another 25 research labs," said Michael McLeod, the universities Vice Chancellor and chief operations officer.

The arts and computational sciences building is finally giving the arts a home on campus.

McLeod admits they have been lacking in that department, but now they will be able to provide students new class options.

"There was definitely a cry for more of the arts. They had a college here for the arts but was kind of a makeshift facility for them. Now they are getting what they really need to grow," McLeod said.

These buildings all connected by a new quad named the Research Plaza.

Apart from a new social area, students also get more living space. Phase two of the Merced 2020 project is adding about 300 new dorm rooms. All new structures are environmentally friendly.

"I am a Valley native, and I feel privileged to be able to help the university and the Valley increase their educational possibilities," he said.

Phase two will be unveiled when the fall semester starts on August 15th. Work is already underway on phase three and McLeod says they're ahead of schedule.
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