New UCF Downtown Academic Building Gets Its Name

March 14, 2017

University of Central Florida leaders will vote this week to name the academic building at the downtown campus after one of the region’s leading philanthropic organizations.

Last year, Dr. Phillips Charities committed $7 million to the new campus, helping the university surpass its $20 million community support goal and making available state funding for the project.

On Thursday, UCF Board of Trustees members will vote on naming the campus’ first new facility as the Dr. Phillips Academic Commons.

The 148,000-square-foot building will be the “heart” of the campus that UCF will share with Valencia College. As an academic anchor, the building will have collaborative learning space, classrooms and space for educational and community events.

“From the start, we knew Dr. Phillips would support this transformational project for downtown Orlando,” said Dr. Phillips Charities CEO Kenneth Robinson. “We are so pleased to see it come to life and to celebrate our shared mission of improving lives through the power of education.”

The Dr. Phillips Academic Commons will join a renovated UCF Center for Emerging Media to serve about 7,700 UCF and Valencia students when the campus opens in Fall 2019.

“Thanks to the generous support of Dr. Phillips Charities, the downtown campus will provide new pathways to a college degree and inspire innovative ways for us to teach and learn,” said UCF Downtown Vice Provost Thad Seymour, Jr.

Across the street, Ustler/KUD – a part of Creative Village Development – is building about 600 beds for student housing. That same 15-story building will also house Valencia’s hospitality and culinary school and shared space for student support services, such as advising and financial aid.

“With our downtown campus partners and the new OCPS Parramore school next to the campus, we are creating a true educational ecosystem in and around Creative Village that will serve students from PreK to PhD,” Seymour added.

Just minutes away from City Hall, the Central Business District and the new Sports and Entertainment District, the campus will provide students a unique learning environment within walking distance of internship and job opportunities in fields such as communication, digital media, social work, legal studies, healthcare technology and healthcare management.

Additionally, Valencia will offer programs in digital media, health information technology, and culinary and hospitality, including workforce training and other certificates to increase access to education in the immediate downtown area.

Construction on the campus is expected to begin this summer, with a ceremonial groundbreaking and community event scheduled for May 11 at the site.

A design and build team made up of SchenkelShultz Architecture, Robert A.M. Stern Architects and Skanska USA is developing plans and will be constructing the Dr. Phillips Academic Commons.

The campus also will have a 600-space parking garage and power generation facility.