ORLANDO, Fla. — Hundreds of college students can now call downtown Orlando home after moving into UnionWest, the new UCF-Valencia College shared student-housing building, on Wednesday morning.
- Students moving into downtown UCF-Valencia residences Wednesday
- Classes start Monday at new shared downtown Orlando campus
- Parking garage for estimated 7,000 students still under construction
- RELATED: New UCF Downtown Brings New Opportunities for Students
More than 600 students will reside in UnionWest of the estimated 7,000 students who will attend classes at the campus. About 300 staff members from both colleges also will work there.
UnionWest is a 15-story student-housing tower open to students of both colleges. It is one of the first shared student-housing buildings of its kind.
"The first moment you get into the first floor, you are in campus," said Jeancarlo Leon, a Valencia College student said. "You go upstairs and you have downtown in the background. It’s so inspiring."
"I felt amazed," said Camila Ricaurte, another Valencia student. "I can’t believe I’ll be living here."
After UCF President Thad Seymour took a tour, he joked that even he planned to apply at the downtown Orlando campus.
"I want to go back to college," Seymour said.
"It only happened because the city, the community, the state, the university and Valencia College all came together around a big idea," he said.
The downtown student housing building and campus is located at Creative Village, which is seen as the new heart of downtown Orlando. It’s a mixture of college students, homeowners, mixed-income residents, and entrepreneurs.
“I’m excited to see new places, meet people, and all the opportunities I get within such a small radius," Ricaurte said. "I can get internships, job offers, and socially get that full college experience."
The parking garage won’t be completed when classes start Monday, but Seymour said UCF has contingency plans in place for student parking.