UC Merced has added $815M to valley

yamaro@mercedsunstar.comOctober 9, 2012 

UC Merced has contributed more than $815 million to the San Joaquin Valley economy since it began operations in July 2000, and about $1.54 billion to the state, school officials reported Tuesday.

The university has about 1,100 people on its payroll, according to Patti Waid, spokeswoman for UC Merced.

As of August, the university's total payroll was at $531 million.

In that period -- July 2000 to August -- it had purchased $145 million in local goods and services, and awarded $140 million in construction contracts to valley businesses, according to officials.

"I think it's been a real boom to the valley," said Mary Miller, vice chancellor for administration at UC Merced. "It tells you that the amount that we have contributed each year has been something that wouldn't exist in the region" if the campus wasn't here.

For the month of August, UC Merced's payroll was $10.6 million, Miller said. "Most jobs would not exist if the campus wasn't here," she said.

The number of UC Merced jobs will continue to increase in coming years to accommodate the university's student growth, Miller said. UC Merced's total enrollment this fall is 5,760.

"Every expectation is that the contribution that we make to the economy will just continue to increase," she said.

Mark Hendrickson, director of commerce, aviation and economic development for Merced County, said Merced County, as well as the region, has seen the positive short-term effects of having a UC campus in the area.

"UC Merced continues to be not only a tremendous educational resource in our community, but they play a vital role in our local economy as well," he said.

There has been interest from companies that want to locate in close proximity to a research university such as UC Merced. As the university continues to grow, develop and exercise its leadership role, more opportunities will emerge, he said.

The state's drastic economic decline has probably reduced the degree of the university's contributions, she said. As a result of economic hardship, some construction on campus has been delayed.

But officials say the overall contributions to the region and the state is much larger when considering the "multiplier effect," Miller said.

That's the result of university employees spending money in the community or elsewhere. The university's contribution to the state through its ripple effect is estimated to be closer to $2.5 billion, Miller said.

In addition, the university has reported a record research expenditure amount of $15.8 million in the 2011-12 fiscal year. Many of those purchases work to stimulate the local economy, according to officials.

Total research expenditures since July 2000 have amounted to more than $90 million, Miller said. UC Merced received $22 million in research grants last fiscal year, which ended June 30.

In the first two months of the current fiscal year, the university was able to bring in about $4 million in research funds.

"Research funding makes contributions to the state, but also makes intangible contributions in the type of research that's done and the value that the research brings to society," she said.

Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482, or yamaro@mercedsunstar.com.

Merced Sun-Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service