Valencia College Expands to Downtown Orlando
The Downtown Campus for the University of Central Florida and Valencia College is under construction.

Valencia College Expands to Downtown Orlando

Valencia College and the University of Central Florida have partnered to open a new campus in downtown Orlando; which will provide multiple degree programs, student housing, and parking.

Eugene Jones II, a former college administrator, was named the executive dean of Valencia’s downtown campus in 2017.

“For current Valencia students, the partnership with UCF will go to another level,” said Jones. “We already know about our great Direct Connect program that we have, but Downtown will have the ability to have more involvement for those students who are looking for the UCF track.”

Valencia has been looking at multiple locations throughout the greater Orlando area to build a new campus and impact the neighborhood surrounding it. They eventually settled on the historically black Parramore neighborhood of west-central Orlando.

Along with the new campus, UCF, Orange County, and the city of Orlando are in the process of constructing what they call Creative Village – a 68-acre urban center in Parramore that will be aiming to integrate “affordable and market-rate housing with a new office space for high-tech, digital media and creative companies,” according to a press release.

“Under the direction of [Valencia College President Dr. Sandy Shugart], Valencia has a ten-year strategic plan on growth and how they want to approach meeting the needs of the community,” said Jones. “Talking particularly about the downtown campus, as they were looking to plan the next campus after Poinciana, they were looking for the next area of town they wanted to impact. The College felt that there will be an impact to the residents there and increase their college attendance rate and hopefully increase the household income.”

The programs being brought to the downtown campus are New Media Communications, Health Information Technology, and Culinary and Hospitality, which will be moved from West Campus and massively expanded in its new home. The campus will also assist students who are looking for jobs, internships, and shadowing opportunities in the downtown area.

The campus will be a fifteen-minute walk from Orlando landmarks such as the Amway Arena, the Citrus Bowl, and the Dr. Phillips Center.

Students will also have the opportunity to live within walking distance of their classes. Valencia and UCF students alike will be able to share housing that will range from private suites to four-bedroom apartments with shared accommodations. This will be the first time Valencia College has partnered with another educational institution to offer student housing.

Students will have the option to buy a semester-long parking decal, which costs the same for both Valencia and UCF students to park in the garages near campus. Students may also use pay-by-the-hour parking if they are at the campus for a short amount of time. Public transportation, such as the Lynx bus, will also be available.

“There are four parking garages on site,” said Jones. “For the residents on Union West, there are 650 spaces inside that facility’s parking garage. There is a parking garage across the street that has about 300 spaces and UCF has already taken over two Centraplex garages with another 800 spaces.”

The Downtown Campus is scheduled to open in time for the Fall 2019 semester.