One year later: GSU, Armstrong consolidation

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - It's been one year since the announcement of a consolidation between Georgia Southern University and Armstrong State University.

The merger took place at the beginning of this month. School leaders say most of the transition has been smooth and quick.

"I don't think people saw a huge difference when Jan. 1 hit," said Dean Barry Joyner, Waters College of Health Professions.

A decision made last January has come full circle for Students at the Armstrong Campus of GSU.

"I think everyone just wants them to rip the band-aid off," said graduate student, Ali Wells, Armstrong Campus.

"From the day the consolidation was announced, it was so much emotion and everyone was like, 'wait, what this,' and then now, the emotion has settled down I think," said Nipuna Ambanpola, Student Government Association President.

"So, I think what you will see is some Armstrong signs have come down and some Georgia Southern signs have gone up," Dean Joyner said. "In committee meetings, we are trying to use technology for a lot of those committee meetings that require people from both campuses to be present to those meetings. I don't think you're seeing a lot of faculty yet going back and forth. Mostly, it's been at the administrative level."

To date, what other changes is the Armstrong campus seeing? Academic officials say adding extra programs in health professions.

"Armstrong has been the largest producer of undergraduate health profession majors in the state for many years, and now if we can combine that with what we're doing in Statesboro, we're going to exceed that," Dean Joyner said.

Another change - Nipuna Ambanpola will be the last student president of the Armstrong campus.

"In the new university, we'll have representatives on both campuses that will be able to cater to the needs and the demands of the student but still be able to represent the university as a whole," Ambanpola said.

We caught up with Ali Wells again after talking with her a few months ago on the consolidation. She says there are still some unknowns.

"They're not very organized in their timeline just because we kind of get updates when they're about to make changes, which is fine, but I think we're all still pretty confused on how it's going to work with the programs," Wells said.

One huge addition GSU says is coming to Savannah is economic impact. Officials say they hope to bring the type of impact they bring to Statesboro - to Savannah.

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