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Enrollment up 10% from last year, Unity College unveils 2 new buildings Friday

UNITY, Maine — Unity College is inviting Maine to campus to see the latest additions in the multi-year campus buildout at America’s Environmental College.

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College officials will cut the ribbon on Unity 3 and the Collaborative Learning Center — the school’s third and fourth new buildings in the last four years — in a public ceremony at 90 Quaker Hill Rd., Unity, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23.

Invited presenters include Robin Chase, Unity branch manager for Bangor Savings Bank; Unity College Chief Student Success Officer Dr. Sarah Cunningham; Unity College Student Government Association President Gunnar Norback ’17; Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau, R-Waldo County; Maine Department of Education Deputy Commissioner William Beardsley; and Unity College Board of Trustees Chairman John Newlin.

“As we transform our campus to bring higher quality learning opportunities to our growing residential student body, we’re also adding value to the Unity College degree for our more than 4,000 alumni, and dollars to the Maine economy,” Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury said. “We can’t wait to share these latest additions to our campus with everyone who cares about environmental sustainability and quality higher education in Maine.”

The opening of the Unity 3 residence hall and the Collaborative Learning Center represents the latest investment of $20 million in new campus infrastructure. Since 2012, the investment has supported more than 200 construction jobs, nine new full-time college faculty, and proved Unity College is one of the fastest growing private four-year liberal arts colleges in Maine.

Designated exclusively for first-year students, Unity 3 will be home to 74 students, two resident advisors and a resident director. All bathrooms and showers are private. This new two-story, 18,200-square-foot residence hall also has dedicated areas for students who wish to study outside of their room in a quiet setting. As with the two other residence halls built since 2013, Unity 3 features state-of-the art energy-efficient features, such as air-source heat pumps with energy recovery, passive solar design, and high-efficiency insulation and lighting.

The Collaborative Learning Center contains two new classrooms — one with 24 seats and the other with 48 — and houses its namesake service, the Collaborative Learning Center, Unity College’s newly expanded student support program.

At 11 a.m., Friday, the college will welcome students, parents, alumni, donors, the media, and dignitaries from across the state to hear how the Unity College growth story benefits our students, our planet, and the state of Maine. There will be tours and refreshments, and officials will be on hand to answer questions about the new facilities and the college.

Unity College welcomed 705 full-time-equivalent students this Fall, shattering its previous enrollment record of 638 full-time-equivalent students from Fall 2015 — a 10.5 percent year-over-year increase.

To support the increased enrollment, the college has completed more than $20 million in physical plant improvements over the last three years, including two $4.4 million fossil-fuel-free residence halls, opened in 2013 and 2014; a $1.1 million cafeteria expansion, completed in 2014; renovations at the Student Activities Center that include enlargement and renovation of classroom space in the Higgins Wing and construction of a brand new outdoor deck and dining area; an upgraded community fire pit on campus; and the repurposing of two signature buildings — TerraHaus and Unity House — into classroom and student life space.

The new buildings being unveiled Friday represent a $6 million investment in student-facing infrastructure.

“At a time when parents are correctly demanding to see the value in a four-year college degree, Unity College must continue to upgrade its programs and facilities to improve the student experience and student outcomes, increase learning through advanced technology and methods, create a platform for environmental learning that’s unique to Maine, and produce caring, skilled graduates who have an impact in the environmental century,” Khoury said.

About Unity College

The first institution of higher education in the nation to divest from fossil fuel investments, Unity College is committed to educating the next generation of environmental professionals. Sustainability science lies at the heart of its educational mission, with 16 environmentally focused undergraduate majors and an M.S. in Professional Science degree offered online. For more information, visit unity.edu.

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