It’s a Trifecta! The UCF-Valencia Downtown Campus is Revived with Support from Board of Governors, State Legislature and Governor ScottShare
“I believe the downtown campus could be transformational for the inner city and be a great expression of our desire to make all the positive impact we can on our community.”
—Sandy Shugart, Valencia College President
Good news has hailed on the cusps of spring break for the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the future of the Downtown Campus. After the Florida State University System Board of Governors (BOG) approved a plan for the campus on Wednesday, March 2, 2016, the second wave of good fortune was soon to follow, as the state legislature included $20 million in state funding for the project on Sunday, March 6, 2016.
Today, the trifecta is complete as Governor Rick Scott authorized the $20 million in state funding toward the construction of the project. University of Central Florida President John C. Hitt commented that “this is one of the most important milestones in UCF’s history,” after learning of the news.
Plans for the downtown campus, in which Valencia will be a major partner, call for an initial 165,000-square-foot academic building, where Valencia and UCF will provide programming that serves more than 7,500 students. President Shugart shared that most lower division courses that comprise the Associate in Arts (A.A.) program will be offered by Valencia. In addition to the A.A. program, Valencia will offer courses required for Associate in Science (A.S) degrees in Digital Media and Health Information Technology, complementing UCF programs in digital media and communication, health information technology and administration, as well other public service programs.
In a separate facility, Valencia will house the Walt Disney World School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts.
The academic building that will be the centerpiece of the downtown campus is set to cost $60 million and will be funded in three parts: $20 from philanthropy; $20 million from UCF; and $20 million from the state. To date, UCF has raised $16 million from community support toward the philanthropic goal and project.
“This whole project will challenge us to take what is already one of the most powerful higher education partnerships in the country to a new level,” said Dr. Shugart of the UCF-Valencia partnership.
Of central importance to this project is providing enriching educational experiences, while fostering student success. To achieve this, Valencia will provide an array of short-term, rapid-skill programs for residents in or near downtown, leading to sustainable employment, and will partner with UCF, not only in the design of the space, but in building a seamless system to provide a cohesive student experience. Private developers will provide housing to nearly 1,000 students in Phase 1.
West Campus President Falecia Williams is at the helm of the planning and strategy implementation for Valencia’s partnership in the development of the downtown campus, ensuring the Valencia narrative is deeply embedded in this work.
The first phase of the downtown campus project is slated to move rapidly, and if all goes as planned, the next steps for Valencia include hiring an executive dean in preparation for a fall 2018 campus opening.