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UCF Downtown Orlando Campus Plan Approved

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
UCF's proposed downtown campus.

The Florida Board of Governors Wednesday approved the University of Central Florida's plan for a downtown Orlando campus.

It will sit on the site of the former Orlando Magic area. The $60 million project will be funded with an equal split of private donations, state money and UCF funding money.

Two members of the board voted against the project. Gov. Rick Scott vetoed funding for the project last year, but UCF Board Chairman Marcos Marchena said the governor had input on this latest proposal.

“An example of a concern that resulted in a change to the project was over UCF building housing downtown,” Marchena said. “Frankly, we looked at the proposed project and made a determination we would not build housing downtown and let that be a private sector activity.”

Still, the project wasn’t approved unanimously. Dean Colson on the Board of Governors voted against it, saying UCF is a very good university – but isn’t a great university.

“And building another campus is not a step forward in becoming great,” Colson said. “If UCF were here today asking for $100 million dollars for a new science building and to recruit five or 10 academic stars, I would be supportive.”

The next step is to get the Florida Legislature to fund it in the budget. Dan Hoslenbeck, UCF’s vice president of university relations, said none of the capital projects have been revealed in the budget, but lawmakers must have a budget ready by next Tuesday though.

UCF will share the downtown campus with Valencia College, offering programs in digital media, health care and public service, among others.

Reporter Abe Aboraya is part of WMFE in Orlando. Health News Florida receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.