UCF to Expand Health Sciences Campus at Lake Nona

UCF to Expand Health Sciences Campus at Lake Nona

The University of Central Florida will buy an additional 25 acres at Lake Nona, paving the way for the Health Sciences Campus to eventually include a teaching hospital within walking distance of state-of-the-art medical education and research buildings.

The Board of Trustees voted Thursday to approve buying the land adjacent to the 50 acres that the Tavistock Group donated to UCF for the College of Medicine. The purchase price is $15.1 million.

“We all recognize that this is a very strategic purchase,” said Olga Calvet, vice chair of the Board of Trustees. “This is the best location for us to provide our students with the best-possible medical education.”

Dean Deborah German said the purchase will enable the College of Medicine to deliver on its promise to live up to all three of its missions: academic, research and clinical. Those facilities are always located close together at the nation’s best medical schools, she said.

UCF is engaging in conversations with community partners about the teaching hospital; there is no timeline yet for its construction. The 25 acres also may include other clinical facilities.

By 2017, the College of Medicine and UCF’s medical city partners at Lake Nona are projected to create 30,000 jobs and more than $7.6 billion in annual economic impact.

In addition to the College of Medicine and Burnett Biomedical Sciences buildings, partners include the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Orlando VA Medical Center, Nemours Children’s Hospital, the University of Florida and the Orlando affiliate of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

In other action Thursday:

Trustees heard a presentation from the Johnson Scholarship Foundation about the establishment of up to $4 million in endowments to fund scholarships for DirectConnect to UCF students. More information about the scholarships will be posted later on the UCF Today site.

Trustees approved small increases in the fees that students pay for health, athletics and transportation access. The total increase for the 2012-13 academic year will be 86 cents per credit hour. There will be no increase in the activity and service fee. Trustees approved the recommendations of a committee consisting mostly of students. In addition, housing rental rates will increase by an average of slightly less than 2 percent. The cost of parking decals will increase by 2 percent.

UCF President John C. Hitt honored retired Brevard Community College President James A. Drake for his 17 years of service at BCC and UCF. Hitt praised Drake as a “leader who understands the power of partnerships in helping our students and communities.” Those partnerships include DirectConnect to UCF and WUCF TV. President Hitt and the trustees also welcomed new BCC President Jim Richey.

Ni-bin Chang, a professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering and the director of UCF’s Stormwater Management Academy, was recognized for his election as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Deborah Beidel, a professor of clinical psychology and director of UCF’s Anxiety Disorders Clinic, was honored for her research aimed at helping veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

President Hitt praised UCF’s football program for earning recognition from the American Football Coaches Association. UCF was one of just 17 institutions in the country to graduate at least 90 percent of its freshman football student-athletes in 2004, Coach O’Leary’s first year with the program.

Trustees applauded the UCF cheerleaders for finishing third in the national championships two weeks ago. They also applauded the women’s soccer team for reaching the NCAA Elite Eight last year. The Knights defeated powerhouses North Carolina and Florida in the tournament.