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February 7, 2024

Unity Environmental University donates Unity arts center to a Waldo County charter school

white-sided building with sign COURTESY / UNITY ENVIRONMENTAL UNIVERSITY Unity Environmental University donated its arts center to the Ecology Learning Center, a publicly funded charter high school in downtown Unity.
With Unity's move from Unity, property is for sale
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Unity Environmental University, a private university in New Gloucester that offers undergraduate and graduate education focused on environmental topics, donated its arts center, at 42 Depot St. in Unity, to the Ecology Learning Center, a publicly funded charter high school located a couple of blocks away at 230 Main St. in downtown Unity.

The Unity Center of the Arts has been valued at around $1 million.

“When the Ecology Learning Center expressed interest in leasing our underutilized space, we gave it serious thought,” said Melik Peter Khoury, the university’s president. “However, we realized that we had an even greater opportunity to make an impact.”

person in white button-down and blue blazer
Melik Peter Khoury

With the university in a strong and stable position, it decided to donate the entire property to the high school. 

The renovated 8,000-square-foot center has a performing arts stage, an auditorium that seats 200 people, classrooms, offices, kitchen, dining hall and ceramics studio with 12 pottery wheels and two kilns.

The donation was made in collaboration with the Unity Foundation, which was founded in 2000 by Unity residents Coral and Bert Clifford to support mission-driven nonprofits.

The arts center, developed from a hundred-year-old barn with attached farmhouse, opened in 2000 and has been offering students and residents music, films, art, lectures and other programs. 

“Through this donation, we are not only transferring a physical space but also entrusting a legacy of cultural enrichment and connection,” said Khoury. “We hope to see the Ecology Learning Center breathe new life into the UCCA and steward the property within the community for years to come.”

The Ecology Learning Center said it would use the arts center as a hub for cultural activities and educational endeavors. 

“This addition will significantly bolster our efforts to provide immersive learning opportunities for our students and the wider community,” said Lēza Packard, executive director of the Ecology Learning Center. 

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