PARIS — The University of Maine Augusta is closing its satellite learning center at 232 Main St. on July 1 and partnering with Oxford Hills Adult Education to administer services to students.

Director Jim Bradley said the change reflects how most students approach college classes.

“The overwhelming majority of UMA South Paris students take their classes online,” he said. “They only utilize the center for test proctoring and advising services, both of which will continue through our new partnership with Adult Ed, or through our Rumford or Lewiston centers.”

The shift will allow UMA to expand educational services at its Lewiston Center, which has seen significant growth since its inception two years ago.

“Our Lewiston Center is currently understaffed and under-resourced to meet student demand,” Bradley said. “The South Paris staff will transfer to the Lewiston Center, allowing us to expand classes and student support.”

UMA has more than 20 distance learning sites across the state and many are connected to adult education programs, according to Bradley. He said South Paris joins a well established partnership model ensuring higher education access to rural communities without enough students to support a full college campus or center.

Students in Oxford Hills may continue taking classes online, either through delay viewing or through the use of Zoom technology. UMA is implementing Zoom across the state ahead of that date. Instead of going to the South Paris center to have exams proctored, students will go to the Adult Education office at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School at 256 Main St.

UMA’s Rumford Center will provide advice to students by email, Zoom and phone contact, and on-site at Oxford Hills Adult Ed as needed. Students who want to continue attending live, on-site courses are encouraged to do so at UMA’s Rumford and Lewiston centers. Full support services will also be available to students at those centers.

Bradley said SAD 17 Superintendent Rick Colpitts and Adult Education Director Tina Christophersen support taking on administration of UMA services.

Colpitts said that while sharing the large, two-story building with UMA has had its benefits, SAD 17 is happy to gain some space.

“Our administrative offices are pretty cramped,” Colpitts said. “Having the complete building available gives us options to house new programs. We may utilize the space for a professional development wing.”


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