Located at 18 Military Street in Houlton, Maine, the Houlton Higher Education Center has worked for more than a decade to provide students with the very best in educational experiences and services. From college preparation, to Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees, to refresher courses and lifelong learning activities, the University of Maine at Presque Isle facility brings a wide variety of educational programs under one roof.
A Brief History
The vision for the Houlton Higher Education Center first took shape in 1999 as the result of a grassroots community effort to re-establish a formal home for higher education in the southern Aroostook area.
At the time, UMPI maintained a modest education center in Houlton, and then-Northern Maine Technical College also had a presence there, but the Houlton community was looking to fill a larger void left after Ricker College closed in 1979. The community group worked collaboratively with the University of Maine System, the then-Maine Technical College System, and other educational entities to bring the Center to fruition.
The idea was to transform a 15,500-square-foot building, formerly a Shop ‘n Save grocery store, into a one-of-a-kind educational facility. When approached by the University of Maine System, Hannaford Brothers graciously agreed to donate the Military Street building to the University.
In order to pay for the $2 million renovation, officials received strong support from County legislators, and critical leadership from then Maine State Senator Michael Michaud in securing state funding for the Center. The project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, and in Fall 2001, the Center welcomed its first students.
Since then, the Center has reached many milestones, but one thing remains the same: everyone at the Houlton Higher Education Center works diligently to provide students with the very best in educational experiences, services and opportunities.
Houlton Center Milestones
- August 2001 – The Houlton Higher Education Center opens its doors
- February 2003 – Officials host a celebration and unveiling of paintings installed in the center’s lobby as part of the State of Maine’s Percent for Art program
- April 2006 – The first HHEC College Transitions class begins
- September 2007 – UMPI Upward Bound opens an office at the Center
- March 2010 – The Native Education Center is dedicated
- Fall 2010 – Partnering efforts with Career Services gets underway
- August 2011 – The Houlton Higher Education Center celebrates its 10th anniversary
- Fall 2014 – MM&CN-Aroostook (Maine Military & Community Network) establishes new space in the Houlton Center
- July 2015 – The Center hosts Community Covenant signing, deeming Houlton as a Military-Friendly Community
- July 2019 – The Center celebrates the 30th anniversary of UMA’s Distance Education
- September 2019 – University of Maine Cooperative Extension relocates to the Center
- November 2020 – University of Maine System Student Success Coach joins the higher education team at the Center
- September 2021 – UMPI’s TRIO Educational Talent Search Advisor begins offering full-time services out of the Houlton Center
- September 2021 – The Houlton Higher Education Center celebrates its 20th anniversary