Valencia College broke ground on the first building of its new Lake Nona campus on Wednesday.

Located in the northeast quadrant of Lake Nona’s “medical city,” the campus will join the University of Central Florida’s medical school, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Nemours Children’s Hospital and the Orlando VA Medical Center. The new campus will open up opportunities for students to study biomedical and life sciences.

“We are delighted to bring a campus to the Lake Nona community that will allow us to expand our course offerings and develop new programs to support the unique economic development needs of the region,” said Kathleen Plinske, president of the Lake Nona and Osceola campuses.

In addition to offering advanced science and math courses leading to the A.A. degree, the campus will focus on meeting the technical training and employment needs of the surrounding research facilities and hospitals, as well as Orlando International Airport.

When it opens in August of 2012, the three-story, 83,000-square-foot building will contain 18 classrooms, six science labs, a library, a bookstore, a small cafe and administrative offices.

Being built at a cost of $21.7 million, this is the first of four buildings proposed for the campus, which will eventually accommodate about 5,000 students and total at least 250,000 square feet.

Source: Orlando Business Journal, Valencia breaks ground on Lake Nona campus. Date: Thursday, June 16, 2011, 3:28pm EDT