HomeNewsCentral Valley NewsUC Merced set to begin construction on medical education building next year

UC Merced set to begin construction on medical education building next year

The project has been on the wish list for university and Valley leaders since the campus opened in 2005

BY RACHEL LIVINAL l November 17, 2023

After many years of plans and speculation, The University of California Board of Regents on Wednesday approved a medical education building set to be built at UC Merced. 

According to a UC Merced press release, the four-story building will cost $300 million dollars. College officials say the money will come from general state funds, the campus budget and donor gifts.

Construction for the building is expected to start next year, with completion projected for fall of 2026. 

The project has been on the wish list of university and Valley leaders since the campus opened in 2005.

Keeping in tradition with much of the campus, the medical building is expected to go green, running only on clean energy without the use of natural gas. 

The medical education building will house a research institute for health sciences, healthcare-related programs and students from the university’s medical education pathway. 

Students from the medical education pathway started their first year at UC Merced this year. The program, SJV PRIME Plus, is in partnership with UCSF in Fresno and is expected to award students their bachelor degree in science, as well as their medical degree at the end of the eight year term. 

Governor Gavin Newsom’ included $15 million in ongoing funding to support the program in the 2020 state budget. 

The approval by UC Regents was the last step in moving forward with the process to establish the building. In 2021, Newsom visited UC Merced to show his support for the building. At his visit, Newsom said the dream of a medical school at UC Merced has been 20 years in the making.

“UC Merced’s Medical School will be the first of its kind for the community, providing local students with opportunities to both learn closer to home and serve the communities they grew up in, while also working to confront the most persistent health challenges facing the Central Valley head-on,” Newsom said during his visit.

Need for a medical school in the area is critical, as there are only 47 primary care physicians for every 100,000 residents in the San Joaquin Valley, compared with 60 physicians for every 100,000 as the statewide average, according to the California Healthcare Foundation. 

Rachel Livinal covers higher education for KVPR in Fresno and the Central Valley Journalism Collaborative, a nonprofit newsroom based in Merced.

The Merced City Council unanimously approved acceptance of $850,000 in grant funding

CVV News l November 23, 2022

At a recent meeting, the Merced City Council unanimously approved acceptance of $850,000 in grant funding to support the installation of gateway monuments on various state routes and $350,000 in grant funding to support the installation of murals on various state highway structures in the City of Merced. 

“This project, funded by Governor Gavin Newsom’s landmark $1.2 billion Clean California initiative, will afford the City of Merced resources to construct and install six welcome monuments and eight large-scale murals reflective of the City’s rich and diverse cultures,” stated Mayor Matthew Serratto. 

“Like billboards, the murals will represent impressionable images that will humanize and transform otherwise underappreciated and unnoticed areas. Additionally, these murals and gateway monuments will enhance unity in our community by linking culturally significant artwork from Downtown Merced to existing South Merced murals,” concluded Serratto. 

Fifteen artists responded to the Clean California Mural Project through the City’s Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Proposals were reviewed by the Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission (ACAC), which serves as an advisory body to the City Council on matters having to do with public art, art projects, cultural programs and activities, and the promotion of the arts within the City of Merced.

An appointed commissioner subcommittee ranked designs based on criteria listed in the RFP. Eight artists’ designs were then submitted for approval by the City Council. To conclude the process, designs were reviewed and approved by the Caltrans Landscape Review Committee. 

“Whether folks are passing through Merced and the San Joaquin Valley on their way to Yosemite or coming to this great city to live, work, study or visit friends and family, this Clean California gateway project will be a highlight of their journeys in the near future,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. “I commend everyone concerned – particularly the local artists whose works will be featured – for their effort in making this idea a reality.” 

Project work will commence mid-December and is scheduled to conclude four months from the start date. Visit to view artist biographies, design inspirations, and progress on their respective designs.

This project is among 126 Clean California beautification projects worth $312 million designed to help energize communities and create connectivity along the state highway system. There are an additional 105 projects statewide funded by nearly $300 million in Clean California local grants to remove litter and transform public spaces in underserved communities. Collectively, these projects are expected to generate 7,200 jobs. The new state budget includes $100 million to fund another round of Clean California local grant projects. 

Central Valley Voice
Central Valley Voice
Felicia Roberts took an idea gathered a few people to reached into a minority community to highlight the positive, using a minority newspaper the Central Valley Voice. Roberts was joined by her sisters Carolyn Williams, Alleashia Thomas, niece Hermonie Lynn Williams, nephew Ron Williams, cousin Jerald Lester, Jay Slaffey, Greg Savage, Tim Daniels and the late J Denise Fontaine. Each individual played an important role in the birth of the newspapers. Since, then many have stood strong behind the success of the newspapers and its goal to fill a void in the Central Valley community The Central Valley Voice published their 1st issue in November 1991. Its purposed was to highlight the achievements of minorities in the Central Valley. The Voice focuses on the accomplishments of African Americans and Hispanics giving young people role models while diminishing the stereotypical pictures of gangs, crime and violence that permeate the minority communities. Since 1991, the Central Valley Voice has provided an important voice for the minority community throughout the Madera, Merced. Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.

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