California Builder & Engineer

Dedicated to the people who make our built environment better and safer. We tell your stories and celebrate your successes.

Register with us and receive industry news and content only available to subscribers.

Subscribe
Contacts

Indianapolis, IN, USA (HQ)

903 E. Ohio St., Indianapolis, IN 46202

Call: (317) 423-2325

info@acppubs.com

Largest P3 Social Infrastructure Project in US History Completed at UC Merced

MERCED, CA — After four years, a coalition of organizations has completed the largest public-private partnership (P3) social infrastructure project in U.S. history. The 1.2-million-gross-square-foot campus expansion, known as University of California (UC) Merced 2020, was officially delivered to the university.

"This project will enable UC's newest and fastest-growing campus to serve up to 10,000 students and increase access to the exceptional research, teaching, and public service opportunities provided by the most respected public university system in the world," said Nathan Brostrom, UC Merced's Interim Chancellor.

The $1.3-billion project includes student housing, classrooms, teaching and research space, student wellness and counseling facilities, and recreational spaces. Delivery occurred in three phases, beginning in mid-July 2018, with the second phase finished in mid-2019.

The P3 development team, which banded together under the banner of Plenary Properties Merced (PPM), was led by developer and equity provider Plenary in partnership with Webcor; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, the lead campus planner; and Johnson Controls Inc, which is responsible for operations and maintenance.

Proving the Viability of the P3 Model
Public-private partnerships are collaborations between a government entity and private-sector companies to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain projects, allowing the project to be completed on time or ahead of schedule and typically for a lower cost than would have been possible if the project was developed in a more traditional manner.

"The project was conceived as a design, build, finance, operate, and maintain (DBFOM) project," said Webcor Chief Operations Officer Matt Rossie. "The university provided a vision. The Plenary Properties Merced team turned the vision into designs, procured subcontractors, installed the infrastructure, constructed the buildings, and commissioned the building systems — all in less than four years."

Gomaco
Your local Gomaco dealer
Terry Equipment

"Because of the DBFOM delivery method, everything was designed and built with long-term maintenance, operations, and energy costs factored into the equation, resulting in a project that has been holistically designed and built to provide long-term value," Rossie said.

"The project's on-time completion significantly improved UC Merced's response to the novel coronavirus pandemic," Brostrom said. "The additional space we have opened on campus will be critical in ensuring that we could comply with social distancing requirements while still serving our students who remained on campus. We are grateful for these partnerships."

"We appreciate the contributions of all who have had a hand in this accomplishment, and we look forward to making sure these new facilities perform to the highest standards and serve the needs of current and future generations of UC Merced students, faculty, and administrators," said Dale Bonner, Executive Chairman of Plenary Concessions.

"This on-time, on-budget completion of the 2020 project shows that incredible things can happen when all stakeholders work together with a true spirit of partnership," Bonner said.

Overcoming Obstacles
The myriad of obstacles the P3 team overcame made the project's on-time and on-budget completion particularly noteworthy.

"This team persevered through floods, wildfires, and a pandemic. They respected their client and the community. They never lost sight of their obligation to deliver this project on time and on budget," Rossie said. "We all believed in the purpose of the project: building an institution of higher learning that would benefit the residents of the Central Valley and further the futures of young people."

SITECH
Your local Trimble Construction Division dealer
SITECH West
SITECH Southwest

The project team committed to the local community by locally sourcing workers and ensuring the community benefited from the UC's investment in Merced. In addition to purchasing locally, project leaders staffed 82 percent of the field labor with local San Joaquin Valley residents. Hundreds of apprentices, who worked a total of nearly 800,000 hours, gained training and experience that will serve as the foundation of future careers in the construction industry.

Team members were also actively engaged in local volunteer opportunities, from fundraisers and parades to building sets for a local high school play.

The Model of the Future
Public-private partnerships have traditionally been employed for transportation projects.

"UC Merced 2020 proves that the P3 model is a highly advantageous way to build social infrastructure projects, as well," Rossie said. "The project has demonstrated what Webcor's approach of transparency, collaboration, and partnership with our clients and subcontractor partners can achieve, and sets the stage for future projects to take advantage of the same formula to deliver social infrastructure projects with speed, efficiency, and quality."

The UC Merced 2020 project has been recognized with numerous awards, including the 2017 Infrastructure Journal Global Award, a 2016 P3 Award, a Public Sector Champion Award from the Performance-Based Building Coalition, and a 2017 award for P3 Social Infrastructure Project of the Year.

SITECH
Your local Trimble Construction Division dealer
SITECH West
SITECH Southwest
Gomaco
Your local Gomaco dealer
Terry Equipment
SITECH
Your local Trimble Construction Division dealer
SITECH West
SITECH Southwest