UC Merced kicks off historic $1.3 billion expansion

NewsUC Merced kicks off historic $1.3 billion expansion
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Plenary Americas


14 Oct 2016

The University of California, Merced, has broken ground on the largest expansion project in campus history.

The four-year Merced 2020 Project will add approximately 1.2 million gross square feet of teaching, research, residential and student-support facilities to the existing campus by 2020. The first phase of new buildings is scheduled for completion in 2018.

UC Board of Regents Chair Monica Lozano, UC President Janet Napolitano, UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland, U.S. Rep. Jim Costa, California Assembly member Adam Gray and representatives from Plenary Properties Merced (PPM) and Webcor — the development team — drove the symbolic first shovels. The groundbreaking marks the start of construction of an unprecedented $1.3 billion public-private partnership approved by the UC Board of Regents in July.  

“Today we celebrate an investment in the future of UC Merced, the future of the San Joaquin Valley and future of the state of California,” Leland said. “The Merced 2020 Project brings tremendous economic growth and allows UC Merced to further fulfill its promise to bring interdisciplinary learning and cutting-edge research opportunities to one of our state’s most rapidly growing regions.”

The campus’s growth project is structured as a type of public-private partnership with a single private developer, PPM, responsible for design, construction, operation, maintenance and partial financing of all new facilities over the 39-year term of the contract. The development model leverages limited public funds with private investment and expertise, while meeting UC Merced’s exacting requirements for quality, functionality, flexibility and sustainability.

“Plenary Properties Merced is thrilled to be breaking ground on this historic project, which has strong potential to become a model for higher-education design and delivery,” Plenary Concessions Executive Chairman Dale Bonner said. “We look forward to completing this project on time and on budget, and continuing our long-term partnership with UC Merced in the years ahead.”

The project development team of PPM includes Plenary Group, lead developer, equity provider and financial arranger; Webcor Construction LP, lead contractor; Skidmore Owings & Merrill Inc., lead campus planner; and Johnson Controls Inc., lead operations and management firm.

Images of the Merced 2020 Project are available here.

Stephanie Williamson

Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs

Contact via email

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