South Hills School of Business and Technology is closing its Lewistown campus this August, citing financial challenges due to demographic changes.
“It is with great sadness that we announce our intention to close our Lewistown Campus. We opened the campus nearly 20 years ago in response to a community need for post-secondary education opportunities for the people in Lewistown and surrounding areas,” South Hills President S. Paul Mazza said in a statement.
The school’s Lewistown campus has seen a decline in enrollment “that has made the cost of operations unsustainable,” Mazza said. “We explored an exhaustive list of options to keep the campus open; however, we determined that to continue to grow as a school, we need to focus our resources on program development at our other campus locations.”
The State College and Altoona campuses will remain operational, he said.
South Hills administration will work with Lewistown campus students to help them continue their studies at one of the other campus locations, including providing transportation support “to help lessen the financial burden” of transferring campuses, he said.
“As you can imagine, this was ... very difficult news to share with our students, faculty, staff, and the community,” wrote Misty Frederick-Ritz, director of marketing and public relations, in an email. “... Our timeline will be unfolding in the coming weeks and months.”
Approximately 50 students and ten faculty and staff members will be impacted by the closure, and most of those are residents of Mifflin, Juniata, and Huntingdon counties, she said.
Alumni will continue to receive career services, including job search assistance, access to student transcripts and continuing education opportunities through the other campuses.
Second year students will be able to complete their degrees at Lewistown and first year students have the option of transferring to either the State College or Altoona campuses, said Frederick-Ritz.
“We already have plans in place to provide the Lewistown students with a tour and information session at the State College Main Campus so they can make an informed decision,” she said.
South Hills Lewistown campus offers five associate degree programs, including administrative professional, business administration—management and marketing, criminal justice, medical assistant and information technology. All of those programs are offered at the Altoona and State College campuses, said Frederick-Ritz.