The University of Central Florida Board of Trustees last week approved a memorandum of understanding with Governor Rick Scott’s office concerning details about the university’s proposed downtown campus.
The MOU addresses several aspects of the downtown project, including local and state workforce needs, student enrollment and support services, state funding and community support.
“We appreciate the feedback from the Governor and his staff and look forward to meeting his goals and improving outcomes for our students, community, and state,” said UCF President John C. Hitt.
UCF also announced that in consultation with the Board of Governors, the university will take additional time before presenting an updated plan for downtown. The university will present to the Board in the near future, though not in January, and use the time to continue seeking community support.
In a joint statement, the institutions’ two leaders said: “Chancellor Marshall Criser III and UCF President John Hitt agree that the appropriate time to discuss the downtown proposal will be when the community support plan is more complete. We’re working together to get the project to the right place so that Board members can have all of the information required to make the best decision.”
UCF’s efforts to gain community support for the downtown project are gaining momentum. Last week, CFE Federal Credit Union pledged $1.5 million to the project. In December, the Orlando Magic also pledged $1.5 million.
In late 2015, Orange County commissioners voted unanimously to contribute $3 million toward the project. Valencia College will contribute $2 million toward the construction of the new academic building that the college would share with UCF.
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.
“We are thankful for the generosity of our partners who have kicked off our community support campaign,” Hitt said, “but we need more support soon to move forward.”
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 $60 million 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. One-third of the new building will be funded by community support. The university also is contributing $20 million from its resources and asking the state for an additional $20 million.
You can follow updates on the downtown campus on the project’s website.