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Maine

Unity College Embarks on $6 Million Expansion

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Susan Sharon
/
MPBN
Unity College in April.

UNITY, Maine — Unity College is launching a $6 million expansion as the small environmental school continues to experience record enrollment growth.

Applications to attend Unity have increased by 138 percent in the last three years.

To meet the demand, Unity will build an additional 18,000-square-foot dorm and a new academic building.

The new residence hall will have space for 74 first-year students and will be heated and cooled by air source heat pumps.

Unity has already built two additional energy-efficient dorms over the past two years as its student body continues to grow.

This year's enrollment of 658 students is the largest in the college's 50-year history.

"We didn't quite see the enrollment surging as it has, as quickly as it has," says Dr. Stephen Mulkey, Unity's outgoing president. "And that speaks very loudly to the demand, in the country right now, for this kind of programming."

At Unity, students choose from 16 environmentally focused majors.

The school was the first in the nation to divest from fossil fuel investments and is ranked as one of the country's greenest educational institutions.

Twenty-five full-time faculty positions have been added in recent years, and more positions are expected as enrollment continues grow.

Dr. Melik Peter Khoury, who will take over as interim president at Unity in January, says the expansion serves as a commitment to the community.

"Unity College plans to make Unity our home forever," he says. "Waldo County our head office. Maine our classroom. And basically become America's environmental college, worldwide, hopefully sooner rather than later."

Unity seeks to break ground on the $6 million expansion as early as late December and have the buildings up and running by next fall.