Officials to release latest on UCF downtown campus Monday

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was scheduled to meet Monday with the presidents of the University of Central Florida and Valencia College to discuss the latest plans for UCF’s downtown campus.

The 68-acre campus will serve about 7,700 students from UCF and Valencia College in Parramore, near the heart of downtown Orlando.

The facility has a $60 million price tag, with $20 million coming from UCF, $20 million already approved from the state, and $20 million through community support.

The project has already raised $17 million from the community, after a $1 million donation from BB&T Corporation Tuesday, according to information from UCF.

"As part of our mission, BB&T strives to make the communities in which we work better places to live and, as a corporate citizen, BB&T has a strong track record of supporting its local groups and institutions," said Tony Coley, BB&T Central Florida regional president. "We are proud to work with and support the University of Central Florida and (are) very excited about the positive impact our contribution will bring."

Not everyone was expressing excitement about the planned campus.

While the project will not directly displace anyone, residents in the area west of Interstate 4 expressed concerns that it will transform the neighborhood and send neighbors packing.

“People done grown up here, been born here, stayed over here in this neighborhood for years, before all this became the beat,” resident Allen Lee said.

Officials argue that the project will boost the economy, add jobs and improve the look of the neighborhood.

Lee wasn’t sure he, or other current residents, would benefit from the changes.

“It’s not for this type of environment, neighborhood,” he said. “It’s going to push a lot of people away from this neighborhood.”

UCF will share the campus with Valencia College, which will offer programs in digital media, health information technology and culinary and hospitality, including workforce training and other certificates.

BB&T’s gift joins those of other public and private partners. Dr. Phillips Charities contributed $3 million toward UCF Downtown. The Orlando Magic, CFE Federal Credit Union and Florida Hospital each pledged $1.5 million toward the construction of the new academic building. University leaders and board members have made personal contributions totaling more than $1 million. Orange County commissioners voted unanimously to contribute $3 million and Valencia College will contribute $2 million.

The UCF downtown campus is scheduled to open its doors by the fall of 2018.