UC Merced marked a milestone Friday in its growth.
University officials, students, and local and state elected officials convened at the school's library for a dedication ceremony for the new $88.8 million Science and Engineering Building 2.
The 102,000-square-foot, three-story building will be located across from the Science and Engineering Building. The new building is expected to open its doors in 2014.
Chancellor Steve Kang said the new building "will allow UC Merced to continue to provide exceptional academic and research opportunities."
The building will provide crucial space for more labs, classrooms and offices and be as environmentally friendly as others on campus. Kang said it will help the university become one of the cleanest universities in the country.
Kang expressed appreciation to all who helped secure funding for the building.
Dan Hirleman, dean of the School of Engineering, said this is an opportunity for the university to expand its engineering programs. The school's mission is divided into three components -- learning, discovery and engagement -- and the additional space will help officials carry out that mission.
UC Merced will have "some amazing labs to bring faculty to deliver the education and create the opportunities for students," Hirleman said. "We'll deliver on what we promise."
Heather Poiry graduated from UC Merced with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and is pursuing her master's in the same field. Poiry said that as part of the inaugural graduating class, she understands what it's like to study a major that doesn't have a home. She also knows how that can affect a student's education.
"I can recall some of my first engineering classes being here at the library and looking across, watching the (first engineering) building grow," she said.
"I can also recall one of the first times that the building opened and we had a chemistry lab, and we were actually able to experience what a real lab felt like."
Other speakers at the dedication ceremony included Assemblywoman Connie Conway, R-Visalia, and state Sens. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, and Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres.
UC Merced was allocated more than $100 million from the state in its 2010-11 budget. Of that amount, $81 million will be used to construct the building.
The rest of the money for the building will come from the university's 2011-12 budget and other sources, including private donations.
Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 388-6507, or firstname.lastname@example.org.