Georgia Says

Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle on Georgia Regents University:

State officials are at least taking a skeptical look at having Georgia Regents University expand into the stately old mills beside the Augusta Canal. But it appears they're looking more eagerly to establish an Atlanta campus of the GRU medical school.

We think expansion here makes a ton more sense.

GRU President Ricardo Azziz's logic is that Atlanta is where the people are - though, in making that argument, he also used faulty population statistics that unfairly and inaccurately portray Augusta as shrinking.

More importantly, we don't agree with his follow-me-to-the-big-city logic, and neither do the purveyors of many of the world's best institutions of higher learning. People don't just follow crowds; they also flock to quality. Great schools - like great barbecue or any other stellar product - are worth seeking out, wherever they are.

Then there's the question of quality of life. Maybe bigger isn't always better; maybe sometimes it's just more crowded. It's no secret that Atlanta struggles with such issues. Attending a great university is more than location, more than numbers, more than even science. It's about an overall experience.

Many of the world's greatest colleges and universities are located in anything but a huge metropolis. They seem to be doing just fine. And, again, they provide their students with a unique, approachable, comfortable setting.

We do hope the Georgia Board of Regents is serious about including the consideration of a mills campus in their long-range master planning now under way.

The potential for expanding GRU along the canal - and providing students with both a pastoral setting and an urban experience - is unlimited and exciting. And, as any business knows, opportunities to expand are often best in your own backyard.

We're disappointed, though not surprised, that Dr. Azziz would seemingly go out of his way to downplay Augusta's dynamism and potential.

Let's concentrate on making the consolidated Georgia Regents University work - and making the most of it by shoring up the foundation already laid.

The Telegraph, Macon, Ga., on middle Georgia has work to do to protect its economy

During a briefing last week with members of the Middle Georgia Clean Air Coalition, consultants and lawmakers in Washington, D.C., while on the same page, had different timetables about what could happen to Robins Air Force Base.

The basics: At some point, probably 2017, there will be another Base Realignment and Closure Commission. That's good news, in that many of the strikes against Robins could be mitigated by them. The bad news, however, is that 2017, for all intent and purpose, is now. That means Middle Georgia has got to get its act together.

The Pentagon is going to be looking at something it did not emphasize in the prior BRAC rounds: Cost savings. According to the consultants, saving money will be the No. 1 priority, but there is a long list of issues the Air Force and the BRAC commission will be looking at and comparing.

Here's the picture.

The Air Force has 500 fewer planes in service than it had in 2005. Fewer planes means less of a workload for bases such as Robins. Workers at Robins and the entire Middle Georgia community have to come to grips that, of the three maintenance depots operated by the Air Force, Tinker in Oklahoma City and Hill outside Ogden, Utah, Robins is No. 3. It's time we try harder.

Not helping the situation is a Washington, D.C. budget process that is wreaking havoc on all branches of the military -- and that chaotic environment, depending on who you talk to, could last throughout 2014. That's not good news. There are lawmakers who believe a budget deal will be reached and there are those who believe another 'continuing resolution' is on its way.

There is no need to repeat how important Robins is to Middle Georgia. Base officials, military and civilian, will do their part to make the base the most efficient, but our communities will have to pitch in, too.

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