Delayed construction leaves UC Merced students without housing before first day of school

Local News

MERCED, California. (KGPE)- A Central Valley university is facing a student housing crisis.

This comes after a massive new off-campus apartment complex called Merced Station, designed to provide more housing options for students, won’t be completed in time for the first day of school. 

UC Merced reports that over 500 students have signed leases at Merced Station.

Merced Station hasn’t yet been completed, so the university is racing to help students in time for the start of classes on August 25. 

In an effort to give students extra time to find housing, the university has said that it’s looking into delaying the start of in-person classes until August 30, with the first several days of school being online. 

But students say it’s not just Merced Station, they feel Merced has a housing issue. 

“I went ahead and signed the lease anyways because my housing search was really egregious, to say the least,” said Danielle Rodriguez, a transfer third-year student.

Students say Merced Station’s property manager sent an email to all leaseholders saying half of the complex will be ready by late September, but there isn’t a timeline for the rest of the buildings. 

“My building is a part of the buildings 5 through 9. Which as of right now don’t have a move-in date at all,” said Rodriguez.  

UC Merced and Merced Station are working to provide temporary housing for students in local hotels, along with expanding on-campus housing. Another 3rd-year student, Clara Medina, said she anticipated problems finding housing as an upper-classman. 

“I moved into Merced about a year ago, a year and a half ago. Because I knew that if I waited until school would be in person that it would be really hard to find housing,” explained Medina.

With last year being fully online because of the pandemic, Medina says she’s grateful she took advantage of the low demand then and secured housing. But she’s worried about the future for her peers. 

“Merced is not a college town and it hasn’t been for a long time, so like, with UC Merced being here, I feel like they don’t really know what the influx of students is going to do to the community,” Medina said.

A university spokesperson says more information will be released early this week on the housing situation. 

Merced Station is owned by Peak Campus, a nationwide network of off-campus housing for colleges and universities.

We reached out to the company for comment but have not heard back. 

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