PASADENA – Tiny Providence Christian College already had been planning for significant growth when it announced a merger with a larger school near Chattanooga, Tenn., last week.

Providence, with 74 students, figures to become the West Coast arm of Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Ga., which has more than 1,000 students and shares a Reformed-based theology and Christian mission.

Covenant’s board of trustees signed a letter of intent on Friday, and the merger is scheduled to be finalized this summer.

“There’s a pretty natural affinity between the two,” said Providence President J. Derek Halvorson, who will become president of both colleges. “To partner with a much older and stronger institution accelerates the rate at which Providence can develop out here.”

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