The master plan for the Dr. Phillips Academic Commons building, otherwise known as ‘the heart of UCF Downtown,’ received approval from a key Orlando Board on Tuesday.

The downtown campus will reside in the “transformative commercial and residential neighborhood” known as the Creative Village.


According to UCF Officials, the Dr. Phillips Academic Commons will include:

  • Four stories of active learning in 148,000 square feet, split between east and west wings along a realigned Livingston Street.
  • An iconic glass bridge connecting the two wings on the third and fourth floors, and rising an additional story higher. The bridge will be more than just a pedestrian walkway; it will include space for student computer and tutoring labs, activities and offices. Viewed from the exterior, the bridge will create a portal for those entering the campus from the Creative Village.
  • An outdoor courtyard framed by the two wings that will serve as the central meeting space of the entire campus.
  • An urban feel, with active ground-floor spaces fronting Livingston Street and Terry Avenue.
  • Offices for UCF and Valencia faculty and support staff.
  • Thirty-five classrooms, a library, technology commons and a tutoring and writing center.
  • A collaborative environment enabled by conference rooms, study spaces and other areas shared by students from both UCF and Valencia.

“The Dr. Phillips Academic Commons is the first building block in the creation of a true, Downtown urban campus for the University of Central Florida and Valencia College,” city project planner Doug Metzger wrote in a staff report.

“The building design definitely has a timeless academic character. Additionally, the distinctive interior spaces create innovative and collaborative educational environments infused with the latest technologies and energy efficiencies that will set the standard for the next generation of teaching and educational approaches.”

Knight News obtained documents related to the City of Orlando’s donation of city land to progress the downtown campus project. The UCF Board of Trustees officially accepted the donation in a March meeting.

“Today’s approval brings us one step closer to making the downtown campus a reality,” said vice provost for UCF Downtown Thad Seymour, Jr.

“With this campus comes new opportunities for our students, industry and the community to transform the place we live and learn into a 21st-century model for urban education.”

Approximately 7,700 UCF and Valencia students will make use of the campus on day one, providing a “full campus experience” in the collaborative 21st-century model for urban education.