In an email sent to students on Tuesday afternoon, HACC President John Sygielski announced that the administration is considering the sale or lease of the Lebanon Campus building.
Sygielski said in the email that the HACC Board of Trustees had been informed earlier in the day (October 1).
“But we aren’t leaving!” he said in the email. “The exploration of the sale of this building does not diminish our commitment to our employees and learners at the Lebanon Campus and to the Lebanon community.”
LebTown spoke with two students who had received the email.
Following email inquiries from LebTown Tuesday night, the college posted a statement to its website on Wednesday morning that confirmed the news, reading in part:
HACC regularly reviews its real estate portfolio across the College to determine if it is beneficial to continue to own all of its property. In some cases, such as the Midtown 2 building at the Harrisburg Campus, the College has chosen not to renew its lease. In other cases, such as the Lancaster County Academy at the Lancaster Campus and PA STEAM Academy at the Harrisburg Campus, the College is leasing space to other organizations.
To continue to be fiscally responsible, HACC has been exploring partnerships to lease portions of its Lebanon Campus. Currently, approximately 50% of the Lebanon Campus building is used for classes and services. There is also a $1.4-million bond balance on the property.
HACC remains committed to its learners and employees and the Lebanon community. HACC offers more than 20 programs at its Lebanon Campus.
The Lebanon campus re-opened in 1990 following its destruction in a fire that killed firefighter Tim Stine. Philanthropist and businessperson Francis “Frank” J. Dixon has been widely recognized as the key person in the rebuilding of the Lebanon Campus of HACC, including by Sygielski, who said in 2013 that the campus owed its presence to Dixon.
Here is a 2016 video tour of the HACC campus, which notes that it is the only downtown location in the five campus college system.
“I am not surprised to hear that HACC-Lebanon Campus is considering downsizing,” said City of Lebanon Mayor Sherry Capello in an email to LebTown. “2019 marks the 8th year of statistically significant declining enrollments in colleges and universities across our nation.”
Capello noted that HACC faces headwinds caused by a strong job market and low unemployment, and “for several years, HACC has attempted to adjust to the changing trend by offering certificate programs, second career options and educated themselves on the skills most sought by our local employers.”
“I commend them for their efforts thus far and I am pleased that HACC desires to continue to have a presence in Lebanon City,” said Capello.