Move-in day: UCF's new downtown Orlando campus opens to students

Video: Hundreds of students are preparing for their first night at UCF's new downtown campus, & this area isn?€™t done growing

ORLANDO, Fla. — Wednesday was move-in day for the first group of students who will live in University of Central Florida's new downtown Orlando campus.

Some 600 students will move into the apartments on Terry Avenue near Livingston Street before classes begin Monday.

UCF officials said they have closed Terry Avenue during the move-in to allow students and their families extra space to unload.

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Some dorms offer expansive views of downtown.

"Everything smells, like, new. Everything is clean. You go to your room and it's just perfect. You arrange (it) the way you want it. It's been a really good experience," said resident assistant Jeancarlo Leon.

When they arrive at the campus, new students and UCF faculty members will not be able to park in the campus' new parking garage yet as it remains under construction.

The 580-space parking garage is expected to open in mid-September.

The campus store in the parking garage also remains unfinished, so students must pick up their textbooks at another building.

Some drivers may use the parking garage by the UnionWest building, and others will have access to a nearby city-owned garage.

"We have a lot of the surface lots here that we'll be utilizing for faculty and staff parking. That's part of our plan that gets us right to about to that number of spaces that we would have had in our parking garage," said Mike Kilbride, the campus' assistant vice president.

There is also a big push for the use of other forms of transportation, such as the UCF shuttle, SunRail or bike-share programs.

Next week, UCF will run 15 daily roundtrip express shuttles between the school's main campus and the downtown campus.

Former Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. walked through Parramore with reporter Karen Parks on Wednesday, describing the neighborhood in which he grew up and surveying its change.

"It takes me back to my roots," he said. "This area was known affectionately as Crosstown."

The campus stands on what was once the Central Florida Fairgrounds, Perry said.

"I remember that quite well because I used to look forward to that day once a year in February, when we would get out of school a half a day early and all the students of African American heritage -- that was the day to go to the Central Florida Fair for free," he said.

Perry said that although much of the Parramore of his youth is gone, the neighborhood's revitalization fills him with a sense of pride.