The campus of Unity College, including Tozier Gymnasium and Fitness Center. College officials announced the campus will reopen for classes this fall and added that despite earlier considerations, there are no plans to list the campus property for sale. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file Buy this Photo

Unity College is reopening its main campus to students and the public in August, the school announced Thursday.

With its main campus at 90 Quaker Hill Road closed since March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the college has focused its efforts in offering its distance and hybrid learning opportunities. Students will have the option for in-person hybrid learning beginning Aug. 2. Residence halls and dining services will also be available at that time.

“Now that vaccines are out, the state is opening and the CDC is creating a little bit more of a sense of normalcy, we are open,” Unity College President Melik Peter Khoury said in an interview Thursday.

The campus lockdown lift is scheduled for Aug. 2, 2021. The Quimby Library will also reopen to the public that day. All students taking in-person classes are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and follow Center for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines related to the pandemic.

Under its Path Forward plan announced last fall, the college moved on from a traditional two-semester model in favor of eight five-week terms, with between 100 and 150 new students enrolling in courses each term.  It was also unclear whether the school might be sold as part of the plan.

“The option to explore the sale of the 90 Quaker Hill campus was approved last year during the height of the pandemic,” Khoury said. “However, the campus was never listed for sale.”

Officials say there are no plans to list the property for sale.

The college’s expanded virtual offerings led to an undergraduate enrollment increase by more than 700 students year over year. Unity students participated in a 24-hour EcoHack challenge event the week after Thanksgiving last year.

“The hybrid model was designed for students to really be in control of how they want to take their courses,” Khoury said. “The entire model hasn’t changed, but we haven’t been able to exercise that muscle because the pandemic happened.”

Recently, the college announced the launch of its environmental education program in the form of a technical institute at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester. Unity also has property in Moose River, Thorndike and Portland.

The college will not increase its tuition for any of its programs. Unity, which bills itself as “America’s Environmental College,” owns 225 acres at its main campus near a wooded area, a short distance from downtown Unity.

“We have been cleaning and we have been preparing, but that’s not since this announcement. That never stopped,” Khoury said. “You really need to look at this in a different lens than fall opening or freshman orientation, this model is very different. It’s really designed for a growing population.”

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