Unity College has abandoned all plans to sell its campus less than a year after administrators decided to cut its on-campus learning options during the pandemic.
The college’s president, Melik Peter Khoury, told the Waterville Morning Sentinel on Thursday that the 240-acre Quaker Hill property was “never listed for sale” after administrators greenlighted putting it on the market.
Last year, Unity College administrators — betting that a move toward an online and distance learning model would keep the school afloat financially — announced it would “permanently eliminate” its traditional campus model and look at selling the campus.
The school was facing a $12 million to $14 million revenue shortfall for the 2020-2021 school year due to declining enrollment. But, by the end of last August, it saw a record enrollment of nearly 1,200 students for the upcoming five-week term, which the college’s president, Melik Peter Khoury, described as a “historical first” for Unity College.
That comes as the college prepares to welcome back students for in-person classes this fall. Vice President of Hybrid Learning Zachary Falcon said Thursday that in-person learning is a critical component of the school’s educational model.
“We believe an in-person learning experience is an important part of our educational mission and Unity College is doing everything possible to ensure students have that option,” Falcon said. “Now that we are post-pandemic, we have a great opportunity to realize the full potential of Hybrid Learning at Unity College.”
Unity is slated to reopen its residence halls, dining services and library on Aug. 2, according to the college.
All students who opt for the in-person option for the upcoming term must be vaccinated against COVID-19, adding to a growing list of Maine colleges requiring students to be vaccinated, the Sentinel reported.
The school will also open a new technical institute in southern Maine this fall.