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Report: Kennesaw State, Southern Poly to Merge

The consolidation, which requires Georgia Board of Regents approval, would take place by 2015.

Kennesaw State University's 50th anniversary year just got even bigger. 

The third-largest institution in the University System of Georgia is set to merge with Marietta-based Southern Polytechnic State University by 2015, according to a report Friday in The Marietta Daily Journal

In a non-bylined article posted at noon Friday, the newspaper reported that an official request for the merger is expected to be made at a Georgia Board of Regents meeting this month.

The name of the consolidated school -- which would have more than 31,000 students -- would be Kennesaw State University, and that the head of the school would be current KSU president Daniel Papp. 

Here's the official KSU release.

“This opportunity creates a new dynamic for us to raise educational attainment levels and enhance our ability to contribute to regional economic development,” said Papp. “I look forward to working with the many talented individuals at both institutions in the coming months as we create a new institution.”

“The unique strengths and assets of both institutions will enable us to improve access and expand the scope of the new institution among students and key stakeholders,” said Southern Polytechnic President Lisa Rossbacher. “We will be able to strengthen our core mission of teaching, research and service.” 

Only the University of Georgia and Georgia State University have more students than KSU. 

In October, Kennesaw State observed its 50th anniversary. The school began offering classes in 1963 as Kennesaw Junior College, and became a four-year institution in 1976.

KSU currently has more than 24,000 students and offers more than 80 degree programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctorate levels.

In February, KSU received approval from the Board of Regents to field a varsity football team that will take the field for the first time in 2015.

Southern Poly, which began as a unit of Georgia Tech in 1948, has been located on Clay Street in Marietta since the early 1960s. It was called Southern Technical Institute until it gained independent status in 1980.

As the name suggests, Southern Poly offers a curriculum specializing in advanced science, technology and engineering, academic fields KSU has lacked. 

Since becoming a four-year school, KSU has offered a general liberal arts undergraduate program, along with popular undergraduate and graduate programs in business, education and nursing. 

The MDJ report describes the proposed merger as a cost-cutting move, and indicated that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is expected to approve the plan by December of next year. 

Final Board of Regents approval would come in January 2015.

In January the regents consolidated four schools into Georgia Regents University and in recent years they have been streamlining the state's public technical college system. 

Cobb-based Chattahoochee Technical College was expanded in 2009 after it merged with Appalachian Technical College and North Metro Technical College.

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