Georgia Southern, Armstrong merger vote could come next week

Georgia Southern, Armstrong merger vote could come next week
Updated: Jan. 6, 2017 at 5:39 PM EST
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STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - News that the Board of Regents could vote next week to merge Georgia Southern and Armstrong State didn't catch GSU alum Jake Hallman by surprise.

He's heard rumors for a while, but not many specifics.

"Although people have been talking Southern and Armstrong could merge, the question is the details. How does it happen?" asked Hallman.

A merger would combine GSU's 21,000 students with Armstrong's 8,000. But how and who'll decide?

Georgia Southern's President Dr. Jaimie Hebert issued a statement Friday saying in part: "The recommended consolidation will combine the best of both institutions, which are just an hour apart and ultimately serve many of the same students coming from SE Georgia who are seeking higher education."

"I have the utmost confidence that Dr. Hebert will look after Georgia Southern, he's not the only player in it," said GSU alum, James Woodall.

Laura Marsh joined the Board of Regents in July, but she knows there's been research before that. She says the vote Wednesday is no done deal for her or the others on the board.

"It's not a spur of the moment, off the cuff decision, it's something that's been studied long and hard by the central office for this to be proposed. And a lot of work will need to be done for it to be implemented," said Marsh.

She says if the proposal's passed, groups from both schools would work together - for maybe a year - leading to the official merger.

"There are lots of questions I have and others have. How will the student fees work? Will the Georgia Southern buses suddenly run up I-16?" asked Hallman.

The merger is actually one of two on the table. The other involving ABAC and Bainbridge State College.

Of course, we'll let you know the decision and how it affects both campuses as this develops.

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