Downtown campus preps for UCF, Valencia students

In less than three months, the University of Central Florida and Valencia College shared campus in Downtown Orlando will open to students. Crews are hard at work, but by the look of things, there is still a lot of work to be done.

Approximately 7,700 students will be attending classes at the campus at the end of August. On Wednesday, representatives from the media were taken on a hard hat tour of the site.

The first stop was the Dr. Philips Academic Building, which will be the heart of campus -- home to high-tech classrooms, labs, a library and common study areas.

“This is a partnership campus, so the spaces we’re seeing, there’s not a UCF wing and a Valencia wing, these are classrooms both used by UCF and Valencia,” said Mike Kilbride, Assistant Vice President, UCF Downtown.

Next on the tour, a privately-built dorm tower called “Union West, a 15-floor building that will house 640 students, as well as Valencia College’s Culinary Arts School, which is sponsored by Disney World.

“This was heavily designed and influenced by Disney, so you’re looking at state-of-the-art equipment and you’re looking at state-of-the-art programming by our good partner Disney World,” said Eugene Jones, Executive Dean, Valencia Downtown.

On the lower floors of Union West are a recreation center, health clinic and student services center. But will the campus be ready for the start of classes?

“Yes, we’re working aggressively with our teams to be ready for the first day of school on August 26th, at certain spaces you’re seeing it look more painted than others, carpet will be going in soon and furniture after that, so in phases, we’re working to closely to make sure we’re ready,” said Kilbride.

The downtown campus will be part of the greater Creative Village area. Apartments and retail are expected to make up the surrounding neighborhood.