Ground was broken Friday for The Wayne Densch Center for Student-Athlete Leadership, thanks to a $4 million gift from the Wayne M. Densch Charitable Trust and a $1 million gift commitment by the Williams Family Foundation. Leonard Williams, trustee of the Wayne M. Densch Charitable Trust, was instrumental in securing both donations.

 “We are very grateful to the Williams family for this generous gift,” said UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Todd Stansbury. “Thanks to their commitment, our current and future student-athletes will be able to utilize all the benefits the Wayne Densch Center for Student-Athlete Leadership will provide for years to come.”

 “On behalf of my family and in support of the Wayne Densch Charitable Trust, I felt there was a need to ensure this project became a reality,” Williams said. “The leadership at UCF, Todd Stansbury and Rick Walsh shared with me how important it is not only to have competitive sports facilities, but also how critical it is to make a big investment in the academic, personal and professional development of UCF student-athletes,” he said. “Under Dr. Hitt’s leadership, UCF has grown significantly. Our family is proud to make this investment.”

 The Wayne Densch Center for Student-Athlete Leadership will serve as the headquarters for personal, professional and academic development of nearly 500 Knights student-athletes. The project cost is estimated at $6 million for the three-story, 22,000-square-foot structure. The Center will house UCF’s Academic Services for Student-Athletes, Student Services and Compliance departments. The building will include a multi-purpose classroom with space for up to 200 students, a computer lab, tutoring and mentoring rooms, study space and conference and resource rooms. It will be located just east of and adjacent to Bright House Networks Stadium.

 Construction is set to begin in January, with the project slated for completion in fall 2015.