University of California Merced Long-Range Development Plan
The University of California has established a tenth campus in the San Joaquin Valley which will ultimately serve 25,000 FTE students at full buildout. Planning for the new campus, located outside of the town of Merced in Merced County, was a joint effort of the University of California, the County of Merced, and a host of interested community, federal and state agencies, and environmental groups. The Long-Range Development Plan establishes the vision for the campus, articulating underlying ideas that have framed its siting, layout and character. The LRDP also provides a history of planning for the campus to date, and sets policies and principles to guide future decisions.
Building another campus has been motivated primarily by the continuing growth in enrollment within the UC system and the lack of adequate additional capacity at the existing eight general education campuses. In addition, locating the tenth campus of the University in the Central Valley is expected to increase participation in higher education by students from this area of the state.
Of the 7,030 acres donated to UC, the campus will occupy only 910 acres, leaving the majority of the land untouched. The site is approximately two miles from the city limits of Merced, adjacent to Lake Yosemite Regional Park at the base of the foothills that lead to the Sierra Nevada. The campus site consists of rolling grasslands, grazed for over 100 years, with views across the valley to the city of Merced and east to the Sierra. During detailed site analysis and planning, the site was found to have a significant concentration of vernal pools and associated endangered species. Through the efforts of the University, the vast majority of the site will be retained in its natural state, to be accessed only for limited research. In addition, over 25,000 acres of threatened resource lands will also be preserved in the region as a result of investments by the State of California and the University.
The first phase of the campus, occupying approximately 100 acres, opened in Fall 2005 with three major facilities: a library, classroom/office building, and science and engineering building, along with housing for 600 students.
The campus has been planned to closely align with an adjoining University Community which will occupy approximately 2,000 acres immediately south of the campus.
Both the University and the adjoining campus community have been planned to utilize an orthogonal street layout, building upon the patterns of small towns and cities in the Central Valley. Scaled to be walkable and tree-lined for shade, the blocks that are created will accommodate a range of land uses. The Town Center, located adjacent to the University, will include higher density mixed-use development with ground floor retail, as well as arts and performance facilities.
BMS Design Group (now Page) served as Campus Planner, developing plan visions and concepts, plan documentation, and coordinating the input of a diverse team of consultants and the client group.
Publications + News
- New Student Facilities Open In Time for Fall Semester
- Page Part of Team Charged with University of California Merced Campus Expansion