UC Merced 2020

Merced, California, USA

UC Merced artist's impression
UC Merced artist's impression

The UC Merced 2020 Project is a 1.2 million gross-square-foot campus expansion and redevelopment project on the UC Merced campus in Merced, California that will nearly double the campus’ physical capacity by 2020.

The project will be the first in the UC system to use a single private development team for a multi-year, multi-building project of this scope. Plenary Properties Merced (PPM) will not only design and build all of the new facilities as a single, fast-track project, but will also ensure major building systems operate effectively over the 39-year term of the contract.

To accommodate changing needs over time, the design and construction approaches are flexible and highly adaptable, helping the campus achieve long-term life-cycle and sustainability goals.

Design features

The 2020 Project is proposed as a mixed-use, master-planned development to be built on a 219-acre, university-owned parcel that includes or is adjacent to the existing campus.  

The project will include new teaching facilities, research laboratories, and faculty offices. A total of 1,700 new beds of Student Housing will be constructed by 2020 helping UC Merced grow from currently 6,000 students to over 10,000. The project will be delivered in three phases with First Delivery in Summer 2018, Second Delivery in Summer 2019, and Substantial Completion for Summer 2020.


The 2020 Project master plan is designed around an Academic Walk lined with ground floor teaching, retail, and meetings spaces with student housing in the upper floors to create a vibrant, collaborative environment. The Academic Walk is anchored to the north by a research quad and to the south by administrative offices and student services.

In line with the University’s sustainability goals all buildings will be a certified LEED Gold minimum. The design includes a robust approach to storm water management and aquifer recharge. These design considerations are consistent with the University’s goal of reaching triple net zero.