KSU President Dr. Dan Papp almost got it right during his State of the University address when he described what will result from the merger of Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University.
“The consolidation of these two fine universities will create an educational and economic powerhouse for the state of Georgia, and for that matter, the nation,” he said.
That’s true as far as it goes. But Papp would have been more accurate had he said, “The consolidation of these two powerhouse universities will create an educational and economic juggernaut for the state of Georgia, and, for that matter, the nation.”
That is, KSU and SPSU are already powerhouse insitutions of higher learning, and have been for quite some time.
Papp’s challenge, and that of those at SPSU, is to find a logical way to bring the two together in ways that enhance what they offer, and with the least possible further stress. Students and faculty at the two — especially those at SPSU — were caught off guard by the state Board of Regents’ merger decision last fall. But the focus in recent months has shifted toward how best to weave the two together.
“Without minimizing the budgetary challenges we face, and without minimizing the angst that consolidation has created, I believe that the state of Kennesaw State is excellent,” Papp said.
Papp says the SPSU campus will not be a subordinate satellite of KSU’s. Rather, there will be two core campuses, he said. The SPSU campus will be called “the Marietta campus” and will be home to at least three of the combined schools’ colleges: the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, the College of Architecture and Construction Management and the College of Computing and Software Engineering.
Meanwhile, several major construction projects are under way at KSU, including a $39 million recreation center, a $22 million expansion of the college of education and an $18 million bridge over Interstate 75 between Frey Road and Busbee Drive. It should go far toward alleviating the traffic around the KSU campus. In addition, KSU recently bought the BrandsMart building for use by its new marching band, which will play at halftime of the games played by its new football team. The BrandsMart building, by the way, will have space for 722 badly needed parking places.
Papp’s speech was a reminder KSU and SPSU are centers of educational and economic dynamism, and those trademarks are likely only to accelerate.