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2020 Project and Backfill Space Allocation Proposal

September 27, 2018


The first phase of the Merced 2020 Project — delivered on time and on budget — has given us many new classrooms and significant expansion of our dining facilities, along with two residence halls. The next two summers will see the delivery of three major academic buildings, more residence halls, administrative space, a conference center, and more, nearly doubling the physical capacity of the campus and enabling enrollment growth to 10,000 students. While planning for the second and final deliveries continues, I write today to share information about campus space allocation.

After a long, exhaustive consultation process, the 2020 Project and Backfill Space Allocation Proposal is now complete.

In preparing this proposal, we carefully considered various forms of input, including perspectives shared at the Faculty Research Space Retreat in Fall 2017, results from multiple surveys, space proposals from 57 departments, programs and divisions, and commentary from over 1,200 hours of consultative meetings.

Representing our best collective effort, the proposed plan is predicated on several guiding assumptions:

  • Faculty at Castle have priority to return to campus
  • Faculty with lab space not conducive to their research have priority to move to new facilities
  • Growth and buffer space are critical to the sustainability of the university
  • Proximity of departments should enable research synergies wherever possible
  • Strategic Centers of Excellence are critical to advance the research mission of UC Merced

We see value in every space proposal received. The current plan takes a bird’s eye view of campus-wide space allocation. If you are unable to identify yourself in the proposal at this time, do not be alarmed. In working through the details of space allocation, we will account for every person and function. Notice that buffer space — space reserved for potential growth — is also included in the proposal. Reserving space is necessary because growth is inevitable. Specifics of when and how programs grow will be determined in the academic planning process. The current proposal does not bypass academic planning in any way.

We have color-coded the proposal to help make space allocation clear. The proposal includes a current and a future version of the space allocation plan for each floor in each building. Colored blocks denote the area tentatively planned for academic or administrative departments. For space planning, the buffer space for a department is identified by the same color as that department. The actual allocation of space for each department will depend on the evolution of the academic planning process.

The office of Space Planning and Analysis will verify the allocation and assignment of faculty, staff, student and support space by department as each backfill project is developed. More information about the schedule for backfill projects will be shared prior to implementation.

I am certain you have questions that this message does not address, and questions that we have not yet thought of. To help identify those questions and get you the answers you need, we have planned a webcast for Wednesday, Oct. 3 from 2 to 3 p.m. More details will be shared soon.

Thank you for participating in the discussions and meetings that have brought us to this point. Those discussions allowed us to reach a good level of consensus around a strategic and viable space allocation plan. The goal of publishing the entire proposal is to give everyone the opportunity to see the outcome of last year’s space discussions and to share any final input before implementation begins.

As we all know, our campus has suffered from a severe shortage of space for a few years now. Though the 2020 Project expansion will reduce some pressure, it will not create a new surplus of space. We will need to continue to work together to use space as effectively as possible for the foreseeable future.

After reviewing the space proposal, feel free to send any final feedback to Maggie Saunders, executive director of Space Planning & Analysis, , before Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The final proposal will be submitted to Chancellor Leland and myself for approval in November.

Thank you for your input and patience in the ongoing process.


Gregg Camfield
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor