University of Central Florida leaders will vote Thursday to name the academic building at the downtown campus after the granddaddy of Central Florida philanthropic organizations.

The campus’ first new facility will be named the Dr. Phillips Academic Commons, pending approval from the UCF Board of Trustees.

Last year, Dr. Phillips Charities committed $7 million to the new campus, pushing the university past its $20 million community support goal and making available state funding for the project.

The 148,000-square-foot building will be the heart of the campus that UCF will share with Valencia College. As an academic anchor, the building will have collaborative learning space, classrooms, and space for educational and community events.

“From the start, we knew Dr. Phillips would support this transformational project for downtown Orlando,” said Dr. Phillips Charities CEO Kenneth Robinson. “We are so pleased to see it come to life and to celebrate our shared mission of improving lives through the power of education.”

The Dr. Phillips Academic Commons will join a renovated UCF Center for Emerging Media to serve about 7,700 UCF and Valencia students when the campus opens in Fall 2019.

“Thanks to the generous support of Dr. Phillips Charities, the downtown campus will provide new pathways to a college degree and inspire innovative ways for us to teach and learn,” said Thad Seymour Jr., UCF downtown vice provost

Across the street, Creative Village Development is building about 600 beds for student housing. That 15-story building will also house Valencia’s hospitality and culinary school and shared space for student support services, such as advising and financial aid.

“With our downtown campus partners and the new OCPS Parramore school next to the campus, we are creating a true educational ecosystem in and around Creative Village that will serve students from PreK to Ph.D.,” Seymour added.

Just minutes from Orlando City Hall, the Central Business District and the new Sports and Entertainment District, the campus will provide students a unique learning environment within walking distance of internship and job opportunities in fields such as communication, digital media, social work, legal studies, health care technology and health care management.

Additionally, Valencia will offer programs in digital media, health information technology, and culinary and hospitality, including workforce training and other certificates to increase access to education in the immediate downtown area.

Construction on the campus is expected to begin this summer, with groundbreaking scheduled for May 11.

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