STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - The Board of Regents vote in Atlanta back in January sent shockwaves down I-16 to Statesboro and Savannah.
The consolidation of Georgia Southern and Armstrong State wasn't the board's first, but it was certainly the most challenging. Two schools, three campuses. All an hour's drive apart.
The announcement set off protests on the Armstrong campus as well as questions and concerns in Statesboro. The spring and summer brought meetings by the consolidation implementation committee - a large group that represented an even larger number of faculty and staff from each school tasked with figuring out the nuts and bolts of how to combine everything from IT networks to course requirements for earning a degree.
An outside accrediting agency approved the consolidation plan just weeks ago, which led the Board of Regents to give their formal approval.
"It's going to really provide a foundation by which we can provide greater educational opportunities for the entire region and, really, the state," GS President Dr. Jaimie Hebert said.
He feels the combined forces of the schools will help grow the region as well.
All the phases of consolidation become complete over 2018 and alumni and supporters of both schools anxiously wait to see the results.