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UCF took another step toward its goal of putting a campus in Downtown Orlando.

At Thursday's Board of Trustees meeting, the board unanimously approved a proposal to establish a Type I campus in Downtown Orlando.

University leaders will present the details of the proposal to the Board of Governors in February, who would then decide whether to approve the downtown campus project and recommend that it be funded by the state Legislature.

A Type I campus by definition is a degree-awarding opportunity for more than 2,000 students.

"The new campus will transform our current offerings by relocating programs on our main campus to downtown. By doing so, we will create a world-class, best-in-the-nation site for learning emerging animation, digital media, communications and film," the proposal states.

While moving programs downtown comes with the benefit of putting students in fields such as art, digital media and communications closer to internship and job opportunities, the downtown campus also opens up space on the main campus. That space appears destined to help in finding a home for the university's STEM programs.

"Due to space shortage, UCF currently houses academic programs in approximately 240,000 square feet of leased space near the main campus," the proposal states. "Our downtown campus will allow us to use vacated space to expand our programs of strategic emphasis — and to house the 200 new faculty members we expect to hire in the next two years."

The proposal targets August 2017 as an opening for Phases I and II of the project. The programs being proposed to open as a part of phases I and II are:

  • Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy

M.S. in Interactive Entertainment

  • School of Visual Arts and Design

B.A. in Art

B.F.A. in Art

B.A. & B.F.A. in Film

B.A. in Digital Media

M.A. in Digital Media

M.F.A. in Emerging Media

  • Nicholson School of Communication

B.A. in Advertising/Public Relations

B.A. in Human Communication

B.A. in Journalism

B.A. in Radio/Television

M.A. in Communication

Graduate Certificate in Corporate Communication

  • College of Education and Human Performance

Ph.D. in Education, Track in Exceptional Education

Additional phases likely will contain more programs to be moved downtown.

"I'm convinced we are going to have a very successful project," UCF president John C. Hitt said. "This is too good of a project not to make every effort to do it."

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Ryan Gillespie is the Editor-in-Chief at the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @rgillespiecff or email him at RyanG@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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