The names Spokane Community College and Spokane Falls Community College sound so much alike, a lot of people aren’t sure which is which.
Even SCC President James Williams was a little befuddled when he came from California a year ago. “I was confused when I applied for the job,” he said.
Williams is among a group of college leaders who think renaming the colleges could end the confusion.
For SFCC, how about Spokane River Community College, Spokane Community College at Fort Wright or West Spokane Community College?
For SCC, perhaps Mt. Spokane Community College, Spokane Community College on Mission or East Spokane Community College?
Those are the suggestions in a recent proposal by Williams and SFCC President Vern Loland.
Not everyone is thrilled with the idea.
“A name change? This is just a weird thing,” said Brian Beaver, student body president at SFCC.
Beaver said the SFCC name recalls early settlers who chose Spokane Falls as the city’s original name.
“They better have a lot better suggestions than those,” he said.
If there’s going to be a change, then rename SCC and leave SFCC the way it is, Beaver said.
For the record, SCC is the college at Mission and Greene, the oldest of the two institutions. SCC focuses on vocational studies for machinists, cooks, health-care assistants and the like.
SFCC is located on Fort George Wright Drive in northwest Spokane. It is commonly called The Falls to avoid confusion with SCC.
SFCC’s primary mission is general studies for students transferring to four-year colleges, although it also has vocational programs. SCC also offers general courses.
Both schools are part of the district called Community Colleges of Spokane.
Williams and Loland say distinct names for each college would help them define the individuality of their campuses, and allow them to target students.
Along with authority to rename the colleges, the presidents want to modify degree requirements, begin individual marketing programs and house athletic teams at one college or the other.
Currently, athletic teams represent the community college district as a whole. Marketing services are handled through the colleges’ district office, and degree requirements are similar, although not exactly the same.
Skeptics said the cost of changing names, including new letterheads and signs, is a waste of money.
They said the colleges have worked hard in recent years to establish a recognizable marketing program and identity.
Allowing the colleges to go off on their own could lead to unnecessary competition for students, critics said.
Trustees, who oversee both colleges, said last week they want to hear from students, faculty members and the public before changing anything.
“There has been minimal discussion,” said trustee Roberta Greene. “You can’t make that decision in a void.”
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: NAME THAT COLLEGE Have an idea for new names for Spokane’s community colleges? Tell Cityline by calling 458-8800 from a Touch-tone phone, then entering extension 9666.