UC Merced Tops Off

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It is one of the largest and, arguably, most complex social infrastructure projects in the nation. Now, every building in the award-winning Merced 2020 Project is completely topped off. UC Merced Chancellor and Bay Area Council Board member Dorothy Leland, UC Merced senior leadership and members of Webcor (also a Council member) and Plenary — the project’s construction and development partners — signed the final beam that will be placed on the Student Wellness and Counseling Center building on Tuesday (April 7). The building is part of the third delivery phase of the project, set to open in fall 2020. The Bay Area Council Economic Institute played a critical role in guiding the university’s use of a public private partnership to undertake the ambitious project.

UC Merced Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer Mike McLeod said the topping off is a tremendous milestone for the $1.3 billion project that broke ground in 2016. Since the project consists of 13 buildings and will double the physical size of the university, McLeod says the placing of the last beam of all the 2020 buildings carries special significance. “It’s an important milestone,” McLeod said. “It’s not just getting here and getting the last structural component in place; it’s being here and having a successful project at this point. Three years ago, 2020 looked so far in the future. So, this is a realization that we are going to complete it and it is successful.”

Though this project has been a success for the university, it has also benefited the city of Merced and San Joaquin Valley. From the time the project began construction in July 2016 through December 2018, 82 percent of the hours worked on the project were by workers from the San Joaquin Valley.

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