The Merced 2020 Project, UC Merced’s unprecedented $1.3 billion campus expansion plan, has been named the “Americas P3 Deal of the Year” in Thomson Reuters’ Project Finance International Awards.
The PFI Awards are part of the Thomson Reuters Awards for Excellence, recognizing corporate and individual success in the global financial industry. The Merced 2020 Project is being funded through an innovative public-private partnership led by developer Plenary Properties Merced.
PFI accepts award nominations from the project finance community. Winners were announced this month, and the awards will be presented at the PFI Awards Dinner in London on Feb. 1.
The award marks the third time the Merced 2020 Project has been recognized by an international organization. During the P3 Awards in October, Vice Chancellor for Planning and Budget Daniel Feitelberg received the Best Individual Contribution Award, given to a person who most successfully progressed P3 infrastructure and innovation. And in August, Feitelberg received the Public Sector Champion Award from Performance Based Building Coalition and InfraAmericas.
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“The continuing recognition of our project is a true testament to the exceptional team that helped make this vision a reality, including those on campus and in the UC Office of the President,” Feitelberg said. “Through hard work, creativity and collaboration, we are enabling UC Merced to accommodate increasing demand for one of the best public research universities in the world.”
The Merced 2020 Project is a type of P3 known as an “availability-payment concession,” in which a single private development team designs, builds, operates and maintains major building systems and partially finances the entire project under a single contract. Financing for the project will include a combination of UC Board of Regents-issued revenue bonds, developer funds and UC Merced’s own funds.
During construction, the university will make predetermined progress payments to the developer. Once the buildings become available for use, the university will make performance-based “availability payments” that cover remaining capital costs, as well as the operations and maintenance of major building systems.
The project broke ground in October, and the first buildings are scheduled to be available in 2018. Upon completion of construction in 2020, the campus will have the capacity to enroll up to 10,000 students.
Cognitive scientist honored for early career work
UC Merced professor Rick Dale is a recipient of the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences Early Career Impact Award from the Society for Computers in Psychology.
Dale, a cognitive scientist in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, studies how our bodies reveal clues to our thoughts and social interactions that are otherwise invisible. These cues can be subconscious and subtle – a quick eye movement, a change in the pitch of a voice, the way we hold a computer mouse – but can reveal whether people will work well together on a project, how much we do or don’t agree with a coworker, or how well students understand classroom material.
The FABBS Early Career Impact Awards recognize scientists who are in the early stages of their professional careers and have already shown promise as leading researchers. In selecting honorees, FABBS draws upon the expertise of its member scientific societies to identify early career candidates who have made significant contributions to their areas of science.
History professor to give talk on the graphic novel
UC Merced history professor Mario Sifuentez will present a lecture, “Histories and the Graphic Novel,” at the Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15.
Sifuentez will discuss how the medium of the graphic novel has shaped history and how history has shaped the medium. The talk will also focus on how graphic novels have historically been used by people in the United States to challenge oppression and how the graphic novel itself has been changed by the practitioners of the art form.
The lecture is the last in the Fall 2016 Sunday Arts Lecture Series presented by the Carnegie Arts Center, located at 250 N. Broadway in downtown Turlock. For information, contact Megan Hennes at 209-632-5761, ext. 103.
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