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ORLANDO-With a sagging economy for a background, University of Central Florida long-range planners will be asking the state for $375 million in construction funds to pay for $541 million of planned projects over a seven-year period. The estimated $166 million balance would come from UCF’s internal funding efforts.

It would be one of the largest local development projects in the last five years. But UCF officials aren’t betting the farm they will get all or even a good portion of the funds needed to carry through a master development plan crafted in 1995.

Still, the 30-year-old, 35,800-student institution could use future rents as collateral to finance the construction of new dormitories, parking garages and some research buildings, independent planners not associated with UCF tell GlobeSt.com.

University trustees are re-studying the master plan this week, knowing that the campus could grow to a student population of 48,000 within the next 10 years, based on a current average annual increase of 2,000 students. Only Ohio State University and the University of Texas at Austin have 48,000 students today.

Parking garages are near the top of the university’s construction wish list. Three are operating at capacity now; a fourth will break ground near the 5,500-seat arena by yearend. A fifth garage is planned for 2002 or 2003.

A second 12,000-seat sports arena, next to the existing arena, is being discussed. The price tag: $45 million to $90 million. A golf course is also being discussed. A second research park and a green mall way are also on the wish list.

Under construction are a new honors student center; student recreation center; and the second phase of Academic Village.

Near design completion or expected to break ground by first quarter 2001 are a new intercollegiate athletic field house, an academy for working teachers; several classroom buildings; and an alumni center.

The university is scheduling two public hearings in October on the reworked master plan before sending the wish list to the Florida Board of Education, the state’s final funding arbiter.

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