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NWCC decides on new name

With few more approvals, the northwest college plans to officially request the name change this fall

Northwest Community College (NWCC) may soon be known as Coast Mountain College.

Finalizing approval from its community stakeholders, the college hopes to apply for a name change in November.

“We really like the idea of Coast Mountain College,” said Sarah Zimmerman, NWCC spokesperson. “It’s inclusive, it ties in really nicely with the geographic area that we serve,” she said, adding that the mountains touch most of the college service area from Smithers to Haida Gwaii.

“And it’s kind of an inspirational name,” Zimmerman suggested. “When you think about mountains, you think about the idea of being able to rise to the top.”

With more than 40 years of history, the college’s chief reason for changing its name is marketing.

With its focus on recruiting internationally, the name “community college” makes people perceive it as less prestigious, said Zimmerman.

She adds that NWCC is not actually located in northwest B.C., but is central B.C. on a map, particularly an issue for international students.

The idea for a name change started during strategic planning sessions two years ago, where college administrators talked about dwindling enrolment and how the institution is perceived. From there, NWCC hired post-secondary consultant Academia to research what makes NWCC unique, and later hired marketing consultant Frank Strategies to help develop a marketing plan.

With consultation, an eventual shortlist of names was developed including Sitka College, Skeena College, North Coast College, and Coast Mountain College.

After consultation with an estimated 100 people, the school settled on Coast Mountain College.

Zimmerman said they don’t know the cost yet but consultant fees were covered by a grant. The biggest cost is campus signage which will be funded through the college capital replacement budget.

Stationary, forms, business cards and Bookstore branded items should not cost extra money, as the college is managing down existing inventories and will replace it over time as a regular operational cost.

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