LEWISTON — University of Southern Maine officials Tuesday announced they are “temporarily pausing” efforts to sell the Lewiston campus and relocate to Lewiston-Auburn’s downtown area because of the challenges posed by the coronavirus.

In a statement, university leadership said they plan to “reassess the situation in the fall.”

USM President Glenn Cummings said that despite the temporary suspension of efforts, “USM’s commitment to LAC and the Androscoggin region remains strong and unwavering. We continue to have high aspirations for a new and thriving campus in Lewiston-Auburn. I believe that despite the necessary delay, LAC will be even more vibrant — and better positioned to meet the educational and workforce development needs of the region’s citizens and employers.”

In the statement, Brian Toy, the interim dean of Lewiston-Auburn College, said the decision will not affect the academic programs offered at the Lewiston campus.

He was quoted, saying, “Indeed, we are moving forward with many academic initiatives for the college and the campus. These include preparing to launch, in fall 2020, both the occupational therapy doctorate program and PhD degree in leadership and organizational studies. Thus, regardless of physical location we will continue to strive to offer needed academic programming for the citizens of the Lewiston Auburn community.”

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