Northwest Community College president Ken Burt with sign that could soon change pending a re-naming of the institution.

Northwest Community College president Ken Burt with sign that could soon change pending a re-naming of the institution.

College to change name

Northwest Community College president Ken Burt says the word "community" makes it difficult to market the college

  • Feb. 1, 2017 3:00 p.m.

HOW about Coho College? Or Apex College? (Think ‘apex’ as in mountain tops.)

Or maybe Three Rivers College?

Those first two might not make the short list but the last one could as Northwest Community College’s board considers changing the name of the region’s post secondary institution.

The problem, says college president Ken Burt is that the word ‘community’ in the institution’s current name doesn’t translate that well when marketing to the outside world.

And just as critical is the perception that ‘community’ somehow lowers the college’s standing in the outside world, makes it more difficult or even impossible for the college to have its courses considered equivalent to other institutions when students want to transfer their course credits onward.

“It’s how we fit into the world of post secondary education. We get a lot of complaints. It’s that word ‘community’,”  said Burt.

In preparation for a name change the college hired an outside branding firm to research the issue.

The consideration of a new name even extends to examining exactly what the ‘northwest’ means in Northwest Community College.

“We’re not even in the northwest, more like the middle west,” said Burt. “The problem with geographic locations are that they are problematic when you’re trying to expand your marketing efforts outside your region.”

Burt is reluctant to release the short list of four names but says the board is expected to make its decisions soon, perhaps at its February board meeting.

If geography is any guide, Burt does like the name now of the former East Kootenay Community College – College of the Rockies.

Any name change must be officially sanctioned by the provincial cabinet and that’s accomplished through an Order-In-Council.