The University of Central Florida's plans for a downtown campus in Orlando have won approval from the board overseeing the state's public universities.
The university says that the Florida Board of Governors gave its go-ahead for the $60 million UCF Downtown project, which will rise on part of a 68-acre parcel that was cleared for redevelopment when a former basketball arena was torn down. Before construction can proceed, the university must secure $20 million in funding from the state legislature.
UCF has received pledges of $16 million in community support to help pay for construction of a new academic building that will be the centerpiece of the project. The campus will serve about 7,700 UCF and Valencia College students.
The university has a goal of raising $20 million from the community to go along with $20 million from the state and $20 million in UCF resources. If the goals are met, the campus would open in fall 2018.
University officials envision the downtown campus providing students with better opportunities for internships and field-related work from nearby businesses.
“This project best aligns academic offerings with industry needs and neighborhood synergies,” says University Provost and Executive Vice President Dale Whittaker. “And it provides our students with hands-on, high-impact learning experiences in a way that is just not possible on our main campus.”
The new academic building will complement a renovated Center for Emerging Media building where the university's graduate video gaming school, the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, is situated.