Week to bring movement on merger of Georgia Health Sciences, Augusta State universities

Regents to meet on plan Tuesday

 

The first formal step of the plan to merge Au­gusta State and Geor­gia Health Sciences universities comes Tues­day, when the proposal will be presented and voted on at the University System of Georgia Board of Regents’ meeting in Atlanta.

If the consolidation, which includes the mergers of six more institutions in three other areas, is approved as expected, it will trigger an ambitious timeline to transform the two divergent Augusta schools into one comprehensive university by fall 2013.

The plan has caught some by surprise, but Augusta political leaders are championing the proposal as the kind of idea the community needs to embrace to create opportunity for future generations.

“You have to be nimble and willing to change in this world or you will be run over or left behind,” Augusta Mayor Deke Copen­haver said.

He said he understands there will be many obstacles in the consolidation process, but he hopes everyone will look ahead at the possibilities that a large regional university in Augusta can create.

“I think we need to look at what the situation will be 20 years from now,” Copenhaver said.

The next step after the Board of Regents gives its approval will be forming an implementation committee, officials said.

The committee members will be selected by ASU President William Bloodworth and GHSU President Ricardo Azziz, and subject to the approval of university system Chan­cellor Hank Huck­aby. It will be the committee’s job to make recommendations to complete the consolidation.

One reason for the proposed mergers that officials keep pointing to is the opportunity to save on administrative costs by combining some operations and reducing payrolls. However, Huckaby and others say it is too soon to specify exactly how much might be saved. That will come as the consolidation plans progress, officials say.

Copenhaver says he can see one more immediate advantage to creating a larger university in Au­gusta: It could silence all the talk about the University of Geor­gia taking away Augusta’s medical school.

“This takes that off of the table,” he said.

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BOARD OF REGENTS CONTACT INFORMATION

KENNETH R. BERNARD JR.

REPRESENTS: 13th Congressional District and appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue

RESIDES: Douglasville

CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone–(770) 920-8350; Fax–(770) 920-8970

 

LARRY R. ELLIS *

RESIDES: Atlanta

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RUTLEDGE A. GRIFFIN JR.

REPRESENTS: 1st District and appointed by Perdue.

RESIDES: Valdosta

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ROBERT “BOB” F. HATCHER *

RESIDES: Macon

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C. THOMAS HOPKINS JR.

REPRESENTS: 3rd District and appointed by Perdue

RESIDES: Griffin

CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone–(770) 227-4600; Fax–(770) 227-9055

 

W. MANSFIELD JENNINGS JR.

REPRESENTS: 8th District (appointed by Perdue)

RESIDES: Hawkinsville

CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone–(478) 783-4001; Fax–(478) 783-4620

 

JAMES R. JOLLY

REPRESENTS: 9th District (appointed by Perdue)

RESIDES: Dalton

CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone–(706) 226-2317; Fax–(706) 275-4433

 

DONALD M. LEEBERN JR. **

RESIDES: McDonough

CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone–(770) 302-3000; Fax–(770) 302-3109

 

WILLIAM “DINK” H. NESMITH

REPRESENTS: 10th District (appointed by Perdue)

RESIDES: Athens

CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone–(706) 548-0010; Fax–(706) 548-0808

 

DOREEN STILES POITEVINT

REPRESENTS: 2nd District (appointed by Perdue)

RESIDES: Bainbridge

CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone–(229) 246-8577; Fax–(229) 248-1922

 

WILLIS J. POTTS JR.

REPRESENTS: 11th District (appointed by Perdue)

RESIDES: Rome

CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone–(706) 802-1313; Fax–(706) 802-1313

 

NEIL L. PRUITT JR.

REPRESENTS: 5th District (appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal)

RESIDES: Norcross

CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone–(770) 806-6893; Fax–(770) 925-4619

 

WANDA YANCEY RODWELL

REPRESENTS: 4th District (appointed by Perdue)

RESIDES: Stone Mountain

CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone–(770) 879-5700: Fax–(404) 598-1068

 

KESSEL STELLING JR.

REPRESENTS: 6th District (appointed by Perdue)

RESIDES: Columbus

CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone–(706) 649-2924; Fax–(706) 649-5297

 

BENJAMIN J. TARBUTTON III

REPRESENTS: 12th District (appointed by Perdue)

RESIDES: Sandersville

CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone–(478) 552-5151 ext. 208; Fax–(478) 552-1118

 

RICHARD L. TUCKER

REPRESENTS: 7th District (appointed by Perdue)

RESIDES: Duluth

CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone–(404) 463-0592; Fax–(404) 657-7913

 

LARRY WALKER *

RESIDES: Perry

CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone–(478) 987-1415

 

PHILIP A. WILHEIT SR. ***

RESIDES: Gainesville

CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone–(770) 532-4421; Fax–(770) 532-8956

 

*-At-large, appointed by Perdue; **-At-large, first appointed in 1991 and re-appointed in 1998 by Gov. Zell Miller and again in 2005 by Perdue; ***-At-large, appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal

Complete coverage of the proposed university merger

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