ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - The University of Central Florida is getting a $1 million gift from BB&T Bank to bolster efforts to build a campus in Downtown Orlando.
BB&T Vice President Bert Pearsall tells FOX 35 it is the right move for the bank and this city. "This is going to be exactly what this community needs, and we've seen the success of this in other markets. So this is absolutely a great opportunity for this community."
UCF received $20 million in state funding to build that campus, but it will only be released if the university can raise $20 million in private donations. UCF President John Hitt says with the new donation from BB&T, they've raised more than $17 million and the numbers keep growing. "We are closing in on it. There are certainly plans ans asks in the works that will get us to the $20 million and beyond. So we are closing in. I anticipate sometime early summer we will have this wrapped up."
In just two weeks, the school will select a team to design and build the first building of that campus. It's been a long time dream for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. "The university is going through the RFP (Request For Proposal) process to have a design construction team in place, and they envision that the first students will matriculate in the Fall of 2018."
Dyer is most excited about what schools will be located on the campus. He says it's a big deal, and the right move to put degrees at the downtown campus that are based on the types of jobs found in downtown Orlando. "Legal education, digital media, health care administration."
Valencia will co-locate a campus there as well that will include a culinary school. Student housing on site will be privately developed by the same group building the Creative Village on the site of the old Amway Arena.