UCF Picks Team to Design and Build Downtown Campus

June 29, 2016

A three-way partnership of experienced architecture and construction firms known for their exceptional work on college campuses will design and build UCF’s new campus in downtown Orlando.

Eight teams submitted proposals in a competitive selection process to design and build UCF Downtown, the future anchor of Orlando’s Creative Village. A team made up of SchenkelShultz Architecture, Robert A.M. Stern Architects and Skanska USA Building, Inc. – joined together as SSA/RAMSA/Skanska – was selected based on their experience, creativity and design ideas.

“Developing a transformational downtown campus requires an innovative and collaborative design and construction team that will work closely with us to build a national model campus,” said Thad Seymour Jr., vice provost for UCF Downtown. “We are confident and excited that we have found the partners who will fulfill – and even extend – our vision for what is possible at UCF Downtown.”

The team will be responsible for the 165,000-square-foot academic building, which will be the centerpiece of the new campus UCF and Valencia College will share. The team also will help to renovate UCF’s existing Center for Emerging Media, which is home to several academic programs, including the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy – the No. 1 ranked graduate video game school in North America.

UCF students, faculty and staff are familiar with SchenkelShultz Architecture’s work. The Orlando-based firm has a 28-year relationship with the university, having designed several buildings that flank Memory Mall on the main campus, including the recently opened Global UCF building, Health & Public Affairs I, Classroom I and the Classroom II/ROTC building.

“Our team is excited to create an innovative campus in downtown Orlando that transforms the urban city center and embraces the neighboring Parramore community,” said J. Thomas Chandler, president and chief operating officer of SchenkelShultz Architecture.  “We are ready to work as a partner to UCF and the academic and business leaders of our community to create a timeless, 21st-century academic environment.”

SchenkelShultz has designed more than 5 million square feet of facilities for UCF and other universities and colleges. Within the past three years alone, the firm designed new buildings or renovated existing ones at UCF, the University of Florida, Florida Atlantic University, Daytona State College and Eastern Florida State College.

Robert A.M. Stern Architects, or RAMSA, has an extensive portfolio of modern higher-education projects that meld seamlessly into dense urban downtown areas. That includes projects at Harvard University in Cambridge, Drexel University in Philadelphia and the University of Connecticut at Hartford.

Skanska USA Building, Inc., will oversee construction. Skanska is an international construction firm that has worked with 21 higher-education institutions in Florida, with offices in the Orlando community for more than 20 years. In the past three years, the company’s Florida offices completed projects valued at more than $1.4 billion, including the visually striking Innovation, Science & Technology Building at Florida Polytechnic University, as well as projects at the University of Florida, University of Miami, Hillsborough Community College and Pasco Hernando State College.

The companies have worked together on previous projects, and that shared experience was a factor in their selection for UCF Downtown.

Taken together, the UCF Downtown facilities will bring 7,700 UCF and Valencia College students to downtown Orlando, offering students an innovative learning environment within walking distance of a wide array of internship and job opportunities in fields such as communication, digital media, public service and health-related programs. 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.

Already, the community has helped raise about $17 million toward the construction of the $60 million new academic building. Another $3 million is expected to be raised and announced in the coming weeks. The university also is contributing $20 million from its resources and received $20 million from the state.

Additionally, the value of in-kind contributions of land and infrastructure by the City of Orlando and the developers of Creative Village total approximately $75 million.

More information about the project and updates are posted to http://www.ucf.edu/downtown.