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Under construction forever

UCF asks the state to remove conservation status from a coveted patch of land

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Although there are technically other pieces of “green space” around campus set aside for conservation, only those under easement are protected should the university have a change of heart. (Which doesn’t seem unlikely, considering that in 2005 the university broke ground on its football stadium not long after submitting a master plan in which the stadium was absent.)

The university’s latest move doesn’t surprise seasoned activists like Emily Ruff, a UCF alum who in 2004 campaigned against the university’s ambitious development plans in a dispute that went all the way to the governor’s office. “Growth for the sake of growth is the same philosophy as cancer,” she says. “Diversifying and developing their programs, rather than making their student population bigger, is a better place to start.” 

When asked about growth, UCF’s Heston says that the university isn’t letting just anybody in. He points to this year’s freshman class, which has an average GPA of 3.8 and average SAT score of 1237. Both numbers, he says, are record highs for the university.

That said, Heston doesn’t see growth at the nation’s third-largest university tapering off anytime soon. “Our commitment is to provide access to quality students that want to pursue higher education, and we’re going to continue to do that,” he says.

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