UCF breaks ground on Dr. Phillips Nursing Pavilion in Orlando

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Florida Construction News staff writer

The University of Central Florida (UCF) broke ground on the transformational Dr. Phillips Nursing Pavilion at Lake Nona, Orlando on Jan. 12.

UCF is building the Dr. Phillips Nursing Pavilion in conjunction with HuntonBrady Architects, Ayers Saint Gross and DPR Construction.

Published reports say the project has a cost of nearly $70 million.

“The UCF story has been fueled by partnership, community investment, industry engagement and the support of our elected leaders,” says Alex Martins, chair of the UCF Board of Trustees and CEO of the Orlando Magic. “Today’s groundbreaking on the new home of our nationally ranked College of Nursing is a true symbol of community partnership, where together this community has positioned our great university to unleash the potential of every individual and drive impact across our region and our state.”

The Dr. Phillips Nursing Pavilion, anticipated to open at Medical City in Lake Nona for the 2025-26 academic year, will help Florida address a critical nursing shortage amid a growing population. Eighty-five percent of UCF’s nursing graduates remain in Florida.

“UCF has a bold vision to scale our nationally ranked College of Nursing to provide the highest quality healthcare education to graduate more nurses, who are desperately needed in Florida,” UCF President Alexander N. Cartwright said in a statement. “The UCF College of Nursing’s Dr. Phillips Nursing Pavilion is a state-of-the-art space that will enable us to reshape the next generation of healthcare and create a healthier, brighter future for our entire state through education and innovation.”

The State of Florida has committed $43.7 million for the new building, along with increased funding to support nursing faculty and students. Former Senate President Wilton Simpson championed the initial funding for the building.

The new building includes three times the lab and simulation space as the current College of Nursing building, which will help fuel innovation within the college and across disciplines on campus.

“The Helene Fund Health Trust is proud to continue our long history of supporting nursing students’ success by investing in UCF’s Simulation, Technology, Innovation and Modeling (STIM) Center,” says Robert Campbell, vice-president of Trust and Fiduciary Services at HSBC, which oversees the trust. “Simulation is a critical component to strengthening students’ nursing skills, preparing them to provide the best care for patients, and improving the health and welfare of our communities.”

In October 2005, the Tavistock Group, donated $12.5 million and 50 acres of land to UCF to help establish the College of Medicine. UCF went on to buy additional land, enabling the campus to meet the university’s and community’s needs into the future.

According to the Florida Hospital Association, an additional 2,300 registered nurses (RNs) are needed to enter the workforce each year to address Florida’s projected shortage of 37,400 RNs by 2035.

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