School District 70 Alberni will be changing its name to School District 70 Pacific Rim.
School board trustees made the decision to change the name during a board meeting on Tuesday, March 10. The reason for the name change was twofold. Trustees wanted to acknowledge the schools in the district that are located on the West Coast, but trustees also wanted to enhance SD70’s marketability and perception outside of the district.
“From a pure marketing stance, the only name that will enhance the marketability of the school district is Pacific Rim,” said superintendent Greg Smyth on Tuesday.
Trustee Chris Washington proposed the new name on Tuesday, noting that the name “Alberni” has gained a bad reputation with monikers like “Canada’s Worst Place to Live.” If the school district was able to attract more international students, she added, it would be able to generate more income.
“It’s sad that we have the reputation we do, but the reality is we do have that reputation,” she said. “I think we have to get past our emotional attachment to the school district name…in order to move the community of our school district forward.”
Trustees Larry Ransom and John Bennie said they would prefer the hyphenated name “Alberni-Pacific Rim” for the school district.
“Taking Alberni out of the name would be a disservice to the community and the residents of the Alberni Valley,” said Ransom.
However, other trustees pointed out that the name “Pacific Rim” is already inclusive of Port Alberni, as the city is located in the Pacific Rim region.
The motion to rename the school district passed on Tuesday, with only Ransom and Bennie voting against it.
Smyth said that the school district has already done some “preliminary costing” when it comes to the name change.
“Given where we are now versus 20 years ago, so much of our stuff is digitized,” he said. “We don’t see the cost to be significant.”
According to board chair Pam Craig, the change is not effective immediately, but will take place at a later date.
“We have a number of processes to do before it becomes official,” she said. “I hope we can target the start of the new school year, but I am not positive if we can meet that deadline.”