Samuel Merritt University Campus Project

A new campus for Samuel Merritt University (SMU), an Oakland-based nursing college that was first established in 1909.



SMU, with Strada Investment Group, is planning to develop a new campus of approximately 250,000 square feet with a mix of classroom space, educational laboratories, and administrative office space. The project will be built on the parcel located between 11th Street, 12th Street, Clay Street, and Broadway.

SMU Real Estate Needs

SMU is currently housed in an outmoded and seismically challenged building on Pill Hill and needs new facilities to remain competitive. SMU also wants to grow its training programs to meet the needs of health care providers who need a pipeline of nurses and health science professionals. They cannot achieve this in their current space.

SMU's Oakland Impact

  • SMU has a current student body of 1,300 and employs 300 teachers and staff
  • The student body and staff are extremely diverse: approximately 68% of students, 59% of staff and 23% of faculty are people of color
  • SMU is an Oakland workforce development engine: Many students are low-income (84% on financial aid), and SMU provides an opportunity for students to access very high-paying, often union, jobs. Forbes ranks SMU #1 in the nation for early career salary of graduates, ahead of Stanford and MIT
  • SMU has a significant community impact in Oakland:
    • 25% of students go on to work in medically underserved areas or populations. SMU has partnerships with numerous local community health clinics including: Davis Street Clinic, La Clinica de la Raza, Asian Health Services, and ROOTS Clinic.
    • The SMU Ethnic Health Institute partners with the Oakland Unified School District, Alameda County Public Health Dept., East Bay Regional Parks District, and dozens of faith communities to provide health education and health promotion events targeting communities of color
    • SMU serves approximately 600 “future students” in Oakland each year. These programs include the Oakland Tech Health Academy the SMU Nursing Success program for under-represented minorities, and several others
    • SMU works with at-risk and homeless populations through volunteerism, student clinical experiences, free on-site clinics, and the Hot-Spotting program
    • The university also has a deep partnership with Peralta – SMU has enrolled nearly 400 students from the Peralta colleges in the last five years alone



DDA amendment approved to allow study of SMU use
Winter 2019
Pre-application submitted to Planning Department
Fall 2021
Council approval of DDA terms for SMU project
Fall 2022