UNITY — Officials at Unity College are planning to announce a $6 million expansion of the campus on Monday with a new residence hall and academic building that they say will add to the number of energy-efficient buildings on campus.

“At this time of increasing interest in sustainability science, we feel we need to make a strong commitment to support those students who have chosen Unity College to launch their careers in high-growth green industries,” said Dr. Melik Peter Khoury, the college’s president-elect, in a news release. “That means supplying state-of-the-industry housing and academic spaces that support learning, community and sustainability.”

The $6 million expansion will include a two-story, 74-bed residence hall and a new academic building, both of which are expected to be completed by the start of the 2016-2017 school year, the release said.

Students at the college spoke enthusiastically about the expansion over the weekend.

“I think it’s a good thing,” said Rebecca Cochran, 20, of Worcester County, Massachusetts. “We could use some new dorms that are more modern than what we have now.”

In 2011 Unity made headlines for the construction of TerraHaus, the college’s first residential building to use solar panels to reduce energy costs. Clifford Hall, which was built in 2014, and the Unity 2 residence hall, completed earlier this year, are also among campus buildings that meet energy-efficiency standards.

Student Kyle Masse lives in Clifford and said that the use of wood pellets to heat the building has saved the college money in heating costs.

Walking with friend Joe Moran through campus on Saturday, the two said they had heard the college was expanding and thought it was a good thing.

“Unity is the only college of its kind,” said Moran, 19. “The sustainability efforts have drawn a lot of students here.”

College officials also say the expansion will help meet student demand. The school currently enrolls about 600 students, and applications for admission have increased 138 percent since 2012, according to the release.

In September, the college officials announced the opening of the McKay Farm and Research Center, a 20-acre farm and greenhouse facility that was donated to the college in 2013.

The two newest buildings planned at the college are also expected to come with new jobs, according to the news release, which stated that Unity College has added 25 full-time positions in the last four years.

“We are creating a home away from home for students across the nation and the world whose passion is to become environmental stewards,” Khoury said in the release. “Building this space will help Unity College bring people from all walks of life to central Maine to help meet the challenges that face all cultures in areas of sustainability, as managing this planet’s resources becomes more and more difficult.”


Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.