Samuel Merritt University Announces Groundbreaking Date for New Flagship Oakland Campus

Bill Hendee

School and City Leaders Will Gather to Kick Off Construction of City Center Campus 

Samuel Merritt University (SMU), a national leader in health sciences education, will break ground on its new flagship campus in Oakland City Center on Monday, April 10. The milestone highlights the 114-year-old institution’s commitment to Oakland and represents another step forward in SMU’s vision to double enrollment within the next ten years.

The groundbreaking ceremony will take place at the site of the new campus in downtown Oakland on 12th Street between Broadway and Clay Street. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao and District 3 Councilmember Carroll Fife are scheduled to deliver remarks. SMU President Ching-Hua Wang and Board of Regents Chair Lloyd Leanse will also speak about the significance of the project. 

In December, SMU secured $139 million in bond financing for construction. The university is investing an additional $120 million of its own reserves to complete the facility. The 260,000-square-foot building announced November 3, 2022. 

The development was put together in partnership with Strada Investment Group. Last October, the city amended its previous agreement with Strada for the site and negotiated a 99-year ground lease with Samuel Merritt University. The San Francisco Business Times will recognize SMU with a “Real Estate Deal of the Year” award at a gala on March 30.

The flagship campus will showcase the most advanced capabilities in health sciences education, including a new Health Sciences Simulation Center occupying 41,000 -square feet. The facility will also house a new Motion Analysis Research Center, as well as classrooms and cutting-edge anatomy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and podiatric medicine labs.

Samuel Merritt University's new flagship campus will take shape on land that was once part of the Oakland City Center Redevelopment Plan. The new headquarters will continue the revitalization of Oakland City Center with a new Center for Community Engagement and a publicly accessible plaza, which will feature community programming and bring foot traffic and commercial activity to the area on evenings and weekends.

Construction is expected to begin on the new campus in May. 

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