Now that Georgia Regents University has received official state approval, school officials are taking steps to make the Summerville and health sciences campuses feel more unified – in spirit and in geography.
On Wednesday morning, the school introduced the GRU Jaguar Express Bus, which will take students between both campuses every 15 minutes each day school is in session.
It can be useful for students who have classes on both campuses or those on the Summerville campus who want to use the fitness and recreation centers on the health sciences campus on Laney-Walker Boulevard, said Karl Munschy, the director of Business Services.
“This is just our beginning, so we’ve got to figure out how much ridership there will be and how much demand there will be,” said Munschy, adding that about 10 riders used the bus before 11 a.m. Wednesday.
The bus will run from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday. The schedule might be adjusted based on student and faculty needs.
The service is paid for through students’ annual $35 transportation fee. This bus and route were added to the existing contract the school has with Horizon Motorcoach, which runs its Jaguar Express shuttle among the Summerville loop, Christenberry Fieldhouse and University Village.
Criminal justice sophomore Ashley Johnson stepped onto the bus at 11 a.m. after her classes were done for the day to see where the bus could take her.
Johnson uses a car to drive around campus but said the bus could save her gas when she wants to work out at the facilities across town after finishing classes in Summerville.
“It would help a lot,” she said. “I can definitely see myself using this.”
Nursing student Carl Adams said he expects to have classes on both campuses next semester. Because he already drives to school every day from Grovetown, the bus will make it easier to get between classes.
“That saves me gas, which I’m already spending a lot on,” Adams said.
Munschy said it was important to make the bus available for students Wednesday morning after GRU received state approval for the merger of Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities the day before.
It glided down Walton Way and across Central Avenue with the GRU symbol and Web site on the sides, which had finishing touches being worked on until about 1 a.m. by Sign Consultants of Aiken.
“They were on top of it,” Munschy said. “They were burning the midnight oil to get this done. We all wanted to have it for our students today.”