• UCF seeks private donations for downtown Orlando campus

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    ORLANDO, Fla. - The University of Central Florida is the second-largest university in the nation, and school officials want to expand it into downtown Orlando.

    UCF president John Hitt said Wednesday that the school needs $20 million in private donations to make it happen.

    "Since my first days on campus, I've been impressed by how UCF makes things happen," said UCF provost Dr. Dale Whittaker.

    Whittaker readied the crowd Wednesday morning asking for donations to help build state-of-the-art facilities for the university's proposed downtown campus.

    Earlier this year, UCF's grand plan was stymied by Rick Scott's office. The governor said he wants to see private donors kick in a third of the money for the first building.

    "The governor, state legislature and the Board of Governors have told us that if this project is so important, the community needs to match the state's investment; that's $20 million," Hitt said.

    Hitt spoke Wednesday in downtown Orlando about the need for the facility that would eventually house about 7,500 students in the communications, legal studies and certain health care disciplines.

    "Anybody who looks at the project in any detail just really likes it. We need to now get folks to say, 'Here's how we're going to pay for it,'" said Hitt.

    If the money comes through, the hope is that the first classroom facility would be complete in the fall of 2018.

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