UCF trustees: Downtown campus to continue as planned
With delays stalling UCF's downtown campus, the Board of Trustees said Thursday the project will move forward as planned.
Provost Dale Whittaker and UCF’s Chief Financial Officer and trustee William Merck led a joint discussion regarding the project's status. Though Gov. Rick Scott vetoed funding for the project, Merck said that they have plans to supplement the state funding.
“UCF has looked into corporate and community philanthropies and within the university itself,” he said. The project is slated to continue as planned, but Whittaker did not discuss any details of when the campus is expected to open.
UCF has coordinated with Valencia College and the city of Orlando for the downtown campus project. The city of Orlando is part of the city of Orlando’s Creative Village project, which will encompass 68 acres in the heart of Downtown Orlando, with 15 acres reserved for the campus.
The campus is expected to bring in about 10,000 UCF and Valencia students, where they will be within walking distance of several areas downtown that could provide internship opportunities for students, including positions at City Hall, the Orange County Courthouse, the Amway Center and the Orlando Sentinel headquarters.
“A goal of the downtown campus is to have degree programs that would be integral to the downtown environment,” Whittaker said.
To accommodate these students, downtown campus facilities will provide 700 beds, with 300 funded by UCF and 400 funded by developers, Merck said. He added that the cost of housing at the downtown campus will run about the same as housing on UCF's main campus. With the help of the city of Orlando and private partners, UCF will build 1,000 parking spaces for faculty and students.
A shuttle system will be provided to students who still wish to attend classes at the downtown campus. In addition, SGA President Cait Zona said that shuttles should be able to provide Wi-Fi access so they can work on homework on the commute.
Eric Gutierrez is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @atticus_adrift or email him at EricG@CentralFloridaFuture.com.