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It could be a year before any board merger might take place between Redlands Community College and a four-year institution.

RCC President Jack Bryant said the state Regents for Higher Education approved a request for a one-year extension to allow the school to continue negotiations with possible merger partners.

The Regents, with support from then Gov. Mary Fallin, had called for Oklahoma’s two-year community colleges to merge their Boards of Regents with either the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University or one of the regional schools such as Southwestern or the University of Central Oklahoma.

Rose State College in Midwest City and Tulsa Community College, both two-year schools, were exempted from the merger because both have local funding in the form of property taxes.

Redlands operates on state funding, grants and tuition and fees.

Bryant said the school is negotiating with the OSU A&M Board as well as the Regional University System. Negotiations include a number of areas including how such a move would impact student athletics at Redlands.

A merger would be on a voluntary basis and Bryant said RCC would continue to operate as a community college. The school has already created partnerships with four-year schools such as Cameron University in Lawton.

RCC students can earn a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Cameron, while students in Lawton can earn an associates in agriculture from Redlands. Both programs are online.