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2015 December 29 - 10:01 pm

Alabama To Merge 7 Community Colleges

Move Is New Governance Panel’s First Major Initiative

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Seven Alabama community colleges will be merged into two regional campuses, under a consolidation plan approved by the new board that oversees the state’s two-year college system.

The Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees approved the merger, beginning a consolidation process that is expected to take up to a year to complete.

Janet Kincherlow-Martin, a spokeswoman for the college system, said all of the campuses will remain open, but administrative functions will be consolidated to save money. She said getting rid of that duplication should make the campuses more efficient and be a better use of taxpayer dollars.

Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton, Alabama Southern Community College in Monroeville and Reid State Technical College in Evergreen will be consolidated with Faulkner State Community College in Bay Minette.

Southern Union State Community College in Wadley and Opeika, along with Chattahoochee Valley Community College in Phenix City, will merge with Central Alabama Community in Alexander City.

Kincherlow-Martin said college names, mascots and colors have yet to be decided. Information meetings will be held in each community.

The consolidation vote was one of the first major initiatives by the new board, created to govern the state’s 25 community colleges and technical schools.

Alabama lawmakers in May voted to remove the community college system from the oversight of the state Board of Education and give it to a new board appointed by the governor, similar to a university board of trustees.

The state board opposed the move with some members calling it a power grab. Legislators, who voted to create the new governing board, said it would put an emphasis on workforce development.

Kincherlow-Martin said no additional mergers are planned.

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