Purdue Global University will close its office on Lisbon Street in Lewiston. The building is listed for lease or sale. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — Purdue University Global, the online school with a physical presence in Lewiston, is leaving town.

Thomas Schott, spokesman for Purdue Global, confirmed the move, saying the school will not renew its lease at 475 Lisbon St. when it expires in March 2021.

The building, which included classrooms and offices, has not been used for months due to the pandemic.

“We are currently operating remotely due to COVID 19,” Schott said.

Seeking to establish a platform to offer online educational services to nontraditional students, who never completed their college degree or never went to college, Purdue University announced its intention in 2017 to purchase the former Kaplan University in 2017.

The sale was complete a year later when The Higher Learning Commission, an accreditation organization,  approved the purchase.

At the time of the sale, Kaplan had more than 30,000 students taking classes either online or at one of 14 physical campuses in seven states, including two in Maine — Lewiston and Augusta. The Augusta physical campus houses the school’s nursing program.

For now, the Augusta campus is not affected by the decision to close the Lewiston branch.

Purdue Global has faced growing pains since taking over for Kaplan. Purdue Global lost $43 million in 2019, according to Purdue’s annual financial report. Several of the physical campuses have closed since the purchase, with learning centers remaining in Indiana, Iowa and Maine.

The 13,000-square-foot building at 475 Lisbon St., owned by Little Canada LLC, is listed for sale or for lease by the Boulos Company. The front section of the building is already under contract, leaving 8,300 square feet available in the one-story structure built in 2005. Boulos has had the property listed for roughly a month.

Purdue, a land-grant university founded in 1869, serves 40,000 students at its flagship campus in West Lafayette, Indiana. It also runs two branch campuses and several technology centers throughout Indiana.

Kaplan was a for-profit school, but since the sale, Purdue Global switched to a public nonprofit model.


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