Second phase of $1.3 billion expansion at UC Merced now complete, as Chancellor Dorothy Leland retires

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UC Merced celebrating the second phase in a $1.3 billion campus expansion project.

A new era at the university, and the end of another.

The school bidding farewell to Chancellor Dorothy Leland Wednesday night.

“I’m going to miss a lot of things here, but I’m going to do a lot of things in retirement as well,” Leland said.

Leland has been busy, watching her work come to life, the past three years.

“From the initial contracts,” Leland said. “To drawings.”

Now Phase 2; two new buildings.

A look inside the Sustainability Research and Engineering building shows, 26 wet and dry labs, 8 classrooms and a new Sustainability Center.

At the center, students and staff focused on the environment and more, can collaborate.

Care reflected in the entire project’s design.

“Every single building in this project is LEED certified at the very highest level, platinum,” Leland said. “We will be carbon neutral by 2020.”

Also, growth for the arts.

Project manager Robin Walker speaking with us inside the Arts and Computational Science building.

In it, a dance studio.

“There’s a music studio, which I believe they’ve been talking about doing podcasts out of,” Walker said. “There’s this space, that we’re in, which seats 299 people and doubles as a classroom, as well as an auditorium.”

Phase 3 already underway.

The completed project will allow up to 10,000 students, with 13 new buildings.

Leland seen here, signing the final beam, on the final project.

She tells us, she’ll still be involved as chair of the oversight board.

Her final thanks, to Merced.

“Merced has been key to campus,” Leland said. “And Merced remains key to its future.”

As for retirement plans, Leland shared, she’s going to be 72-years-old in a few months, she wants to spend time with her great grandchildren, practice her amateur photography skills, and write a book.

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