UCF officials hoping Legislature provides much-needed funding for upgrades

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Major plans to renovate some of the University of Central Florida's oldest buildings could end up on hold.
 
The university needs millions of dollars from the state, but lawmakers might only offer half of the money needed.
 
School officials said that UCF has some aging buildings that need electrical, plumbing and other systems upgraded.
           
So school officials are requesting more than $56 million from the state for their projects, which include renovating Engineering Building 1, mathematical sciences, the library, as well as other improvements.
           
They said the money would also help construct a new building in Research Park to help expand the growing modeling and simulation industry.
 
"We do have three partnership buildings here in Research Park, and they are very valuable to our modeling and simulation industry, and a fourth one would be huge to try and keep the industry here and help it grow," said UCF spokesman Chad Binette.
 
So far Florida lawmakers are only proposing offering the school around $20 million.  
 
Without the funding officials said they would have to go back to the drawing board. 
 
"(We would) look at what we can do with the money that's available, if we would be able to do anything at all," said Binette.
 
Students at the school agree that the money is needed.
 
"There are some buildings that do need renovations badly and Engineering 1 is one of them," said student Joshua Hughes.
 
"It's vital to upkeep, to make these changes, to keep our campus looking great and it makes people want to be here," said student Nikia O'Neal.
 
Officials said that so far nothing is set in stone and they're hoping they will be able to get the money they requested.
 
Officials said they are closely watching the legislative session and have even sent representatives to Tallahassee to lobby for the money.