UCF Downtown was recently honored with the Downtown Orlando Partnership’s Golden Brick Award of Excellence. The annual awards recognize projects that positively impact downtown Orlando through extraordinary achievements and broad-reaching contributions.
The award was presented Friday during the Golden Brick Award’s virtual celebration by Thomas Chatmon, executive director of the Downtown Development Board, and Josh Wyche ‘14, executive director of the DOP.
“The University of Central Florida’s downtown Orlando campus has defined the new standard for partnership in this community,” says Wyche. “This project will impact our city center in ways that no other has ever done before. UCF Downtown is truly woven into the fabric of our city … this unique partnership project ignites cultural growth that binds our community together.”
UCF Downtown, in partnership with Valencia College, serves more than 7,000 students who live, learn and work in downtown Orlando. Opened in August 2019, this transformational project that increases access for students, provides pathways into high-demand career fields, fosters collaboration with neighbors and improves countless lives through the power of education.
UCF invested $114 million into the downtown campus, which features 350,000 square feet of classrooms, learning support, and specialty teaching spaces, including a mock courtroom, computer labs and a maker space, all specifically to support academic programs downtown. Strong partnerships with employers and real-world experiences help UCF graduates to be competitive applicants in the Central Florida talent pipeline.
“We are honored to have been selected for this prestigious award,” says Ross Wolf, interim assistant provost for UCF Downtown. “UCF is known as a partnership university, and we could not have achieved our vision for this campus without the support we received from our community and educational partners. Students enrolled at UCF Downtown have access to the latest technology, unparalleled academic advising and student support, and countless opportunities to gain industry and practical experience within minutes of the campus. We are already having a big impact and are looking forward to continuing to play an important role in the growth of downtown Orlando and throughout our region.”
The campus offers more than 20 degree programs that were specifically chosen for the downtown campus to enhance students’ ability to gain hands-on work experiences. For example, in downtown Orlando alone, there are more than 760 legal-related businesses or organizations where legal studies students can intern or work.
The shared campus model also leverages UCF’s partnership with Valencia to help decrease the cost of a four-year degree by about $6,000 as compared to the average Florida State University System degree.
UCF worked with many partners to make the campus a reality including: the City of Orlando, Orange County, Creative Village , Dr. Phillips Charities, Valencia College, Ustler Development Inc., DEVEN, Robert A.M. Stern and SchenkelShultz Architecture, Baker Barrios Architects, CannonDesign, Walker Parking Consulting and C.T. Hsu + Associates Architects, and construction teams from Skanska and PCL Construction.
UnionWest at Creative Village, the privately developed, 15-story building that houses student services including admissions, financial aid, student health center and more than 600 beds of student housing, was also awarded a Golden Brick Award for commercial development.