The University of Central Florida and Valencia College realized a big dream Thursday as they broke ground on a downtown campus.

UCF Downtown will be shared by both educational institutions in a collaborative effort to improve education in the Parramore area.

“This will create a pathway of opportunities toward improving education for the children of Parramore,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

Children from the Parramore Kidz Zone attended the event and Dyer pointed to them as those who will benefit the most from the higher education offered in the new Creative Village.

UCF Downtown is modeled after a similar concept by the University of Arizona in Phoenix.

“It was born in Phoenix but we will do it better here,” the mayor said. “This is the next evolution that will solidify Orlando as a national education leader.

The groundbreaking event included speeches from UCF and Valencia leaders along with political and philanthropic officials.

“Orlando is not the capital of the state but we are the capital of collaboration,” said Dyer, who added that UCF Downtown would never have happened without local partnerships.

The event ended by awarding Parramore resident Portia Jones, 17, a $1,000 scholarship to attend the UCF Downtown campus. Jones is one of seven girls being raised by a single mother. She is an honor student, track athlete and varsity cheerleader at Jones High School. She told the crowd she plans to major in medicine.


About The Author

The youngest of seven children, Terry O. Roen followed two older brothers into journalism. Her career started as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, where she wrote stories on city and county government, schools, courts and religion. She has also reported for the Associated Press, where she covered the Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin trials along with the Pulse massacre. Married to her husband, Hal, they have two children and live in Winter Park. A lifelong tourist in her own state, she writes about Central Florida’s growing tourism industry for Florida Politics and Orlando Rising.

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