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Student Life, Recreation and Athletics


Strategically blending living, learning, athletics and recreation

The student life program adds living, learning, community and recreation spaces to the campus.  Once the new space is added, UC Merced will have the capacity to configure the entire campus' portfolio of student life space in order to further student success.

Download a summary of the Student Life and Recreation Program (PDF)

Student Life

The type and amount of student life space being developed has been designed to address both existing space needs as well as the requirements expected  with increased enrollment in the future.   It includes flexibly designed space for student organizations distributed throughout multiple buildings, space for student government, a campus store, meeting rooms and a conference center ballroom.  The opportunity to add large amounts of multi-use student organization and activity space is an exciting time for UC Merced.   In 2017, undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff will be invited to help develop a process for managing the use of UC Merced's physical facilities in a way that furthers student success and the University's teaching, research and public service mission.


In the spirit of the Central Valley’s architectural character, the 600-seat dining facility, shown above, reinterprets the traditional “industrial shed,” utilizing simple materials and a long-span steel structural system to create an expansive interior dining space with strong connections to the rest of the campus.  The lakeside window wall of the dining facility engages the surrounding natural environment by opening to Little Lake and will serve as an iconic and inviting addition to the campus. At night, the glow from the façade illuminates as a featured student life element within the larger campus. 

Recreation and Athletics

An outdoor competition-level pool and outdoor competition fields will anchor an athletics and recreation district near the entrance to the campus. The Competition Field anchors the western edge of the site. Positioning the field here provides direct access to parking and to a shared plaza with the competition pool. Space is provided adjacent to the fields to enable bleacher seating for spectators. Two additional full-size recreational fields will provide a venue for the campus community to engage in intramural sport activities, performances, and other campus activities. 

Wellness Center

The Wellness Center will provide space for general wellness, disability services and counseling and psychological services. The program was created by determining the number of physicians and counselors needed to efficiently serve an expanded campus.   Privacy, safety and patient flow will be key considerations.