ORLANDO, Fla. – Thousands of University of Central Florida and Valencia College students walked into brand new classrooms Monday as classes began for the first time at the new downtown Orlando campus.
University officials said more than 7,000 students have enrolled for the fall semester at the 15-acre campus.
According to the university, UCF Downtown is the home to more than 20 UCF undergraduate and graduate programs, including digital media and communication, health care and legal studies.
UCF senior Marissa Scarangella said she's excited that the location of her classes will put her closer to potential internships and job offers.
"I'm web design, so I feel like being in the city would help a lot with trying to find somewhere to go after school," Scarangella said.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was on campus as classes began and described the new campus as a project that kick starts the Orlando Creative Village.
"We now have the most robust educational ecosystem in our downtown of anywhere in the state of Florida," Dyer said.
With UCF Downtown being built near the neighborhoods of Parramore, officials said it gives families in the community every educational option within walking distance of their homes.
The campus itself, though, is still a work in progress as construction continues on a parking garage and dining options.
Officials said food trucks will be available on campus for several weeks. Temporary parking options are also being offered until the garage is completed in mid- to late September.