MERCED, Calif. — Students coming to Merced College in the fall, when in-person courses are expected to resume, will find a slew of new resources and campus upgrades made possible by more than $12 million in COVID-19 relief funds as well as general funds allocated by the Merced Community College District Board of Trustees.

 The board approved yesterday (April 13) a list of projects that include expanded wifi and classroom technology, socially distanced space both indoor and outdoor, a new welcome center, diversity support center, and instructional innovation center at Merced College, along with other technology and facility improvements at both the Merced and Los Banos campuses.

 “Our students, instructors and classified employees in Merced and Los Banos will benefit greatly from these additions and upgrades,” Area 2 Trustee and Board President Ernie Ochoa said. “Like our students, we are learning, growing and improving constantly through every challenge we face as an institution, and we feel a great sense of pride and optimism as we move into the next chapter of our shared journey.”

 The Merced and Los Banos campuses will both provide expanded indoor and outdoor wifi and improved technology in all classrooms to facilitate remote learning, along with newly furnished or renovated outdoor spaces to enable safe individual and group activities. There will also be increased and enhanced spaces for remote workers who need to be on campus.

 “We can’t wait to have our students back on campus this fall, and we’re working hard to create the most welcoming experience possible for them,” Merced College President and Superintendent Chris Vitelli said. “We want Merced College to feel like a home away from home, while also equipping ourselves with the technology we need to be nimble and creative in the educational experience we provide to students.”

 The college is also improving student learning spaces, with new collaborative spaces in the Learning Resources Center and newly expanded and physically distanced seating in the Student Union. Another $12 million in COVID-19 relief funds will be disbursed directly to students.

 “This much-needed plan addresses technology gaps that have resulted from the pandemic, along with academics, health and diversity, while also enhancing the overall feeling that comes with being part of the Merced College family,” Area 3 Trustee Carmen Ramirez said. “I would like to thank President Vitelli and his team for their hard work in developing a robust and thoughtful approach to better serve our students both on and off campus.”


 Merced College does not discriminate, and prohibits harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, age, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.

Media Contact: James Leonard,, 209-681-1061