The UCF Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a financing plan for an expansion of the Academic Village housing community and Greek Park.

UCF plans to add 670 beds to Academic Village, located next to the Recreation and Wellness Center, and 80 beds in two new houses in Greek Park. A Greek Life Center that would provide programming, meeting and operational space also is part of the project.

UCF’s goal is to open the new housing in 2012-13. The university will borrow up to $55 million for the Academic Village expansion and one of the Greek Park houses, and that money will be paid back with Housing and Residence Life resources. The second house in Greek Park will be funded directly with Housing and Residence Life resources.

With the expansion, UCF will have nearly 6,900 beds of on-campus housing.

Trustees also voted Wednesday to begin the design process for a new parking garage to be built next to Academic Village.

In other action Wednesday, the Board of Trustees:

Recognized the Veterans Academic Resource Center, which officially opened Wednesday in the UCF Arena across the street from Barnes and Noble. The center serves as a one-stop shop for student veterans and their eligible dependents.

Praised Reed Noss, the Davis-Shine professor of Biology, for earning the Wilburforce Foundation’s 2010 Conservation Leadership Award for exceptional leadership in the conservation movement. Noss’ interdisciplinary research covers fire ecology, forest and grassland restoration, and the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow and its dry prairie habitat.

Applauded Shin-Tson Wu, provost-distinguished professor of optics, for earning the Joseph Fraunhofer/Robert M. Burley Prize for exceptional contributions to optical engineering. Wu developed the technology that enables cell phone and computer screens to be bright and clear enough to be seen in all kinds of light.

Praised the UCF football team for earning its first-ever national ranking this week. The Knights are #23 in the USA Today coaches’ poll and #25 in the Associated Press poll.

Congratulated trustee Dan Webster on his election to the U.S. Congress and thanked him for his service to the university.