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UCF Downtown Campus Gets $3M Gift, Now Needs Board Approval

UCF's proposed downtown campus.
UCF's proposed downtown campus.

The University of Central Florida has received a $3 million gift for its downtown Orlando campus from Dr. Phillips Charities. This is the largest private gift for the project, said UCF.

The university is looking to raise $20 million from private gifts, and this contribution from Dr. Phillips Charities brings the total in private donations up to $16 million.

UCF should reach that $20 million goal soon, said spokesman Grant Heston. “We’ve got it in sight, we have proposals that are out,” said Heston, “and we feel very confident that we’re going to get to that $20 million bogey.”

UCF is willing to chip in $20 million and is asking the state for the last $20 million for the downtown Orlando campus. But first it must get approval from the state board of governors, which oversees the state university system. Its approval is key in getting lawmakers to sign off on funding.

Gov. Rick Scott vetoed state funding last year.

The building will be a central part of a larger downtown campus. UCF will share the campus with Valencia College and offer programs in digital media, health care and public service.

“When you look at the kind of programs that are going to go down there, some are focused on health care, some are focused on legal studies, high tech, digital game design,” said Heston. “We know those jobs are downtown ready for our students, and that’s why they’re going to be successful being down there.”

The city of Orlando made a $75 million deal that’s a mix of land, parking concessions and infrastructure.

If UCF gets all the approvals it needs, the campus could open by the fall of 2018. It would be located in the Parramore neighborhood in downtown Orlando.

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