Students split over school consolidation

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Come January, nearly 150 students are landing on the Laney Walker campus at GHSU, but not all of them are happy about it.

Senior ASU nursing student Leslie Carter admitted, "I'm not looking forward to driving an extra 15 minutes."

Driving farther is just one of the adjustments ASU students will have to endure once they start calling GHSU their home.

"The parking costs significantly more here at GHSU than what we have to pay so was kinda worried about how that would factor in," senior ASU nursing student Caitlin Pye said.

"It'll be my very last semester, with a whole new campus. It's kinda weird, but it is what it is," Carter said.

As GHSU students led the newcomers around, they could tell some of the students weren't at ease.

Third-year GHSU nursing student Mehul Patel was one of the students giving tours.

"I think [there's] still a little split attitude between people. Some are excited about the consolidation. Those are the new students. Then, there are some seniors who are like, well what's the point for this?" he said.

As for the professors, they say they're ready to be under one roof.

They believe it will be up to them to make their students feel comfortable.

"I think a lot of it has to do with how faculty portray themselves to the students, and if we are comfortable in our environment, they will be comfortable in their environment," said ASU Department of Nursing Interim Chair Jean Pawl.

While they'll be in the same building, the students won't be in the same classes.

Current ASU students will finish out in their curriculum. So will GHSU.

"Schizophrenic is the word that comes to mind for me," Pawl said.

Then, in the fall, when the school becomes GRU, they'll add a whole new curriculum that newly admitted students will follow.

"There's gonna be these three curriculums going on at the same time in fall of 2013," Pawl said.

Even though there is a lot of change -- and even some chaos -- as the two schools work to become one, Pawl says one thing will never change.

"It's still teaching whether you're on this campus or that campus. It's watching that 'aha moment' in the student's face. The 'I get this.' That doesn't change," she said.

The two biggest questions: Will my tuition go up? And where do I park? As for tuition, this coming spring is the only semester it will not go up. As for parking, the students are encouraged to use the Laney Walker parking lot, but there will also be a shuttle running between the two campuses when classes start Jan. 9.


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