2020 Project

As the newest campus in the University of California system, UC Merced faced a growing gap between strong student demand for admission and limited physical capacity to accommodate that demand, projected to reach 10,000 students by 2020.


University of California, Merced


Merced, CA


Architecture /
Campus Environments /
Campus Planning /
Planning /
Campus Planning /

In response, the university launched the Merced 2020 project, an ambitious 1.85M GSF mixed-use development plan to nearly double the size of the institution’s campus through a Public Private Partnership financing and delivery method—the largest social infrastructure P3 project in North America. UC Merced selected JLL, along with SCB and AECOM, to facilitate the financial feasibility, campus planning, cost analysis, and development team selection process.

In SCB’s role as lead planner for the expanded campus, the firm is developing all programming and design guidelines for future buildings, working closely with key University stakeholders, faculty, and administrators to identify program needs and space requirements for academic, research, administrative, and recreational buildings, as well as student residences and student services buildings. Planning for the expansion will also include utilities and infrastructure; outdoor recreation areas; and associated roadways, parking, and landscaping for the 219-acre site—which includes the existing campus and 136 acres of undeveloped land. SCB will build on these foundational conversations to articulate requirements for the campus master plan, selecting the development teams to carry it out through a rigorous, competitive Request for Proposal process.

To respond to the increased volume and diversity of building typologies needed to support expansion, SCB’s approach takes advantage of existing investments in campus infrastructure to envision innovative facilities that integrate students, faculty, and staff into a sustainable living and learning environment. The reimagined campus will feature a welcoming “front door” that captures the spirit of the University’s teaching and research mission, as well as a network of open spaces that enhances the campus environment, facilitating passage and cross-disciplinary learning.

million square feet