Kissimmee, FL — In front of a crowd of more than 100 students and community members, officials from Valencia College, the University of Central Florida, Osceola County and Kissimmee broke ground Thursday, Sept. 22, on a new $35 million building on Valencia’s Osceola Campus.
“Have we ever seen a louder buzz on this campus? I don’t think so,” said Raymer Maguire III, chairman of Valencia’s board of trustees.
When completed in spring of 2013, the four-story building will be the largest building on any Valencia campus – with 150,000 square feet in academic and support space.
The new building, which will be designated as Building 4, will house the campus library, cafeteria, bookstore, classrooms, as well as one physics lab, two chemistry labs and eight biology labs. The building’s first floor will contain a learning support center with 12 math, science and technology tutoring stations, computers and small-group study rooms.
“This building has been on our minds for over a decade,” Dr. Sanford Shugart, Valencia’s president, told the crowd. “Today, ceremonially, we begin this enormous construction project,” which he described as “truly a community effort” involving UCF, Osceola County officials, as well as boosters from the community.
Designed in Southern California “mission style” architecture, the building will consist of two wings joined by a four-story atrium. The second floor will be home to a testing center with 100 student stations, plus administrative and faculty offices for Valencia and UCF. The second floor will also house the library, a space that college officials spent many hours considering.
“In the early stages of our design process, we asked our students what features they would most like to have in a new library, and they asked for silent study space, spaces to collaborate with friends, high speed internet, and lots and lots of power outlets for their laptops,” said Dr. Kathleen Plinske, president of Valencia’s Osceola Campus. “While it seemed like a daunting task to incorporate all of their requests in a single space, we are truly proud of the design that we have developed for our new library.”
The building was designed by Hunton Brady Architects. Clancy & Theys is the project’s construction manager.
College officials and the design team from Hunton Brady Architects, designed the building around a green space – creating a “Jeffersonian” lawn, similar to that found at the University of Virginia.
“Dr. Shugart was thinking of a plaza space, with student activities, seating areas, and even outdoor learning areas,” said Hunton Brady vice president Maurizio Maso. “That’s how we ended up locating the cafeteria on one end, with a loggia or covered area, looking out into the green space. And on the other end of the building, we have a terrace, looking out into the student commons area.”
The outdoor space will also include three courtyards, which will feature benches, power outlets, wireless Internet and six-foot-tall glass slabs that will serve as whiteboards for students and instructors.
Because the building will have a variety of energy-efficient and green features, such as high-efficiency air-conditioning systems, dual-flush toilets and green materials used in the floors, walls and ceilings, Valencia officials are aiming for the building to be certified as a LEED Silver facility. If it receives that certification, it will be the fourth building at Valencia College to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as a LEED facility.
In addition to the energy-saving features inside Building 4, the landscaping plan will use native plants, which require less irrigation. The new building will also house a cistern to capture rainwater and re-use it.
UCF, which operates a regional campus at Valencia’s Osceola campus, committed $7.5 million to the project. In return, the new building will contain 12 classrooms for UCF, plus an office suite for administration and faculty members.
Valencia officials also announced the sale of engraved bricks, which will be embedded in the entry courtyard of Building 4. Each brick will sell for $100; a portion of the money from the brick sales will be used to support scholarships for Osceola County students. For details, go to http://valenciacollege.edu/osceola/bricks
The Osceola Campus, founded in 1997, is Valencia’s third largest campus, with about 12,000 students. Enrollment at the Osceola campus has nearly doubled in the past five years, making it Valencia’s fastest-growing campus.
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