UC Merced built its Downtown Campus Center (DCC) for two big reasons: to bring together the off-campus administrative staff and departments that were previously scattered across multiple locations and to strengthen the university’s connection to the community.
The university achieved both of those goals when the DCC opened this spring and recently scored another victory: winning a 2018 San Joaquin Valley Blueprint Award.
The honor was announced last week by the Community and Regional Planning Center at California State University, Fresno, and the American Planning Association’s (APA) central section. The award will be presented at noon Friday during a luncheon in Modesto. Judges recognized the DCC for embracing sustainable smart growth principles .
“From its layout to its communal gathering areas, this building was constructed to promote efficiency, encourage teamwork and spark creativity,” said Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer Michael McLeod. “By locating our building downtown, the university hopes to strengthen our ties with the community in a way that reflects UC Merced’s commitment to the city and the region.”
The $45 million, 67,400-square-foot facility includes offices, seminar and conference rooms, and mixed-use space to facilitate collaborations between the campus and community. At capacity, the building can accommodate 325 people.
Hundreds of staff, faculty, students, dignitaries and community members attended the DCC ribbon- cutting ceremony, and the building’s first occupants began relocating in February.
Eight regional transportation agencies created the Valley Blueprint Awards in in 2009 to encourage quality in planning and development and provide visual examples of attractive, functional and environmentally-friendly projects. More than 50 projects and people have received Valley Blueprint awards since the program started.
The APA’s central section chapter covers 11 counties including Merced, Madera, Mariposa, Fresno, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne and Kern.