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The UCF Board of Trustees held its first meeting of 2016 this morning, at which an agreement was approved concerning UCF’s downtown project. The Memorandum of Understanding on UCF Downtown outlined the agreement between UCF and Florida Gov. Rick Scott. Provost Dale Whittaker presented the memorandum.

A prominent item of concern and discussion at the meeting was the timeline and funding of the downtown project. Whittaker explained UCF’s agreement to request no more from the state of Florida beyond the current request of $20 million, prior to the 2018-19 year. However, in order to move forward and begin construction of the campus, there must be a locally fundraised match of $20 million.

The timeline of the Downtown Campus project is dependent on the match of funding and approval by the Board of Governors. The fundraised amount currently lies between $7 million and $8 million dollars, and the BOT believes the rest of the fundraising needs to be done within the next two to three weeks.

“We are thankful for the generosity of our partners who have kicked off our community support campaign,” said President John C. Hitt in a release, “but we need more support soon to move forward.”

The CFE Federal Credit Union and the Orlando Magic both recently pledged $1.5 million to the project. Other contributors include Valencia College and Orange County commissioners.

The memorandum of understanding was approved, and as a next step the BOT will take time to update the plan for downtown before briefing the Board of Governors.

“Chancellor Marshall Criser III and UCF President John Hitt agree that the appropriate time to discuss the downtown proposal will be when the community support plan is more complete,” the institution’s leaders said in a joint statement. “We’re working together to get the project to the right place so that Board members can have all of the information required to make the best decision.”

Other points made during the meeting included the agreement to develop degrees in high-demand by local workforce, programs that assist graduates seeking full-time employment, and the utilization of learning models that combine in-class, hybrid and virtual learning. UCF’s agreement to refrain from building residence halls on the new campus was also included in the memorandum.

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Rosie Reitze is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @rosie_ucf or email her at RosieR@centralfloridafuture.com.

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