Florida Hospital announced its commitment to UCF’s planned downtown campus on Monday, pledging $1.5 million toward the project.

Florida Hospital’s gift will help fund construction of a new academic building that will be the centerpiece of the UCF Downtown campus serving about 7,700 UCF and Valencia College students.

“UCF’s downtown campus will give future health care professionals a running start in the real world because of its proximity to business, research, and direct health care activities,” said Daryl Tol, Florida Hospital President and CEO. “Florida Hospital is proud to partner with UCF Downtown on new learning and professional development opportunities for students in these high-demand fields.”

Florida Hospital leaders say they will explore ways to integrate learning and work experiences for health information technology and health care administration students studying downtown, in addition to working with UCF on community health initiatives in surrounding neighborhoods.

The downtown campus will also create opportunities to explore joint programs between UCF and Florida Hospital’s Adventist University of Health Sciences. UCF Downtown will be one SunRail stop away from ADU at the Florida Hospital Health Village station.

“UCF and Florida Hospital are dedicated and long-standing partners. We greatly appreciate this meaningful contribution to UCF Downtown, which will provide enhanced opportunities for health care education to benefit our students and our community,” said UCF President John C. Hitt.

One-third of the new $60 million downtown academic building will be funded through community support. The university also is contributing $20 million from its resources and asking the state for an additional $20 million.

University leaders will present plans for the campus on March 2 in Orlando to the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the state university system.

Last month, the Orlando Magic and CFE Federal Credit Union each pledged $1.5 million toward the construction of the new academic building that UCF would share with Valencia College. University leaders and board members have made personal contributions totaling more than $1 million. Orange County commissioners voted unanimously to contribute $3 million, and Valencia College will contribute $2 million.

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

Pending approvals, the campus will open in fall 2018. UCF Downtown will offer students an innovative learning environment within walking distance of a wide array of internship and job opportunities in fields such as digital media, communication, public service and health-related programs.

UCF will share the campus with Valencia College, which 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.

The new academic building at UCF Downtown will complement a renovated Center for Emerging Media building where UCF’s nationally ranked graduate video gaming school, the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, is located.