As you are aware UC Merced and the UC system are under serious financial strain at the moment as a result of the pandemic. This financial strain necessitates that we delay and re-prioritize the backfill projects in SE1, SE2, COB2 and the Kolligian Library. We are aware that many of you were counting on these projects to resolve outstanding issues in your research space. With full transparency we are writing today to explain the process that will be used to re-prioritize and plan these projects so that there is the least possible negative impact to your research.
First, the COB1 project will be completed and the Merritt Writing Program and Department of Economics and Business Management will be relocated to the 3rd floor of COB.
- The SE1, SE2, COB2 and Kolligian Library projects as currently framed are on hold.
- Over the next 30-90 days, a prioritized list of individual projects in SE1, SE2, COB2 and Kolligian Library will be assembled based on the following principles:
- First priority will be to provide labs for faculty who currently have no research lab.
- Second, we will resolve facilities problems currently impinging on a faculty member’s ability to complete their research.
- Finally, we will address situations where face to face, in person student service is essential and can be improved through facilities modifications – such as the Bobcat Advising Center.
- Space modifications to facilitate long term planning, such as in SSM, will be on hold for a minimum of one year.
- Costs will be estimated for the each of the smaller projects.
- The recommended list of projects will be presented to the Provost and CFO for review, and the reviewed list will be presented to the Chancellor for decision.
- A list of the projects that the institution is unable to undertake during this fiscal year will be maintained and projects will continue to be reviewed and implemented in priority order.
While we are all fervently hoping that 2021 will be a year of progress, we must restore the financial foundation of our institution before we are able to implement our complete long term facilities plan. Staff from POPD will be reaching out to individual faculty soon to develop the re-prioritized list of smaller projects.
Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer