A panel of community leaders this week approved a proposal to rename the three campuses of the College of Southern Nevada, energizing a yearslong campaign by North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee to attach his city’s name to the school.
Tuesday’s decision — backed unanimously by a special subcommittee of the Institutional Advisory Council made up of six representatives from local interest groups — launches a plan to allot between $13,000 and $15,000 from CSN’s maintenance and operations budget to modify signs at each of the three campuses so they include the name of the city and the street they are located in.
“CSN needs to have more professional branding,” said IAC vice chairman and subcommittee member Jose Solorio, noting that the school’s campuses are inconsistently named.
Formed in March in response to mounting pressure from North Las Vegas to rename CSN’s Cheyenne Campus, the subcommittee has spent months seeking input and considering a wide range of cost estimates for the project.
“The community college system is a great asset to the city of North Las Vegas,” Lee said. “But students here don’t feel that tie to the community, and we want to work with CSN to make us better partners.”
Still, Tuesday’s move contradicted the wishes of most students and employees at CSN — a survey carried out by the school in May found that 58 percent of its 7,200 participants oppose the switch.
“Why spend the money on a vanity,” wrote one staff member. “Put the money where it should go ’ first and foremost the students and the staff.”
Panel members argued that most of the concerns raised through the survey were misguided because cost estimates for the project wound up being much smaller than initially projected. The school initially guessed that changing the signs would cost more than $500,000.
“The reality is, our committee has no responsibility for operating costs tied to salaries and benefits and tuition and textbooks,” subcommittee Chair Randy Robison said. “The cost of this will not impact students or faculty.”
The group said it was drawn by promises from government officials that renaming the campuses will better showcase CSN’s community ties, ultimately helping the school draw more investment from lawmakers and private companies.
“These business leaders are so convinced that this is going to bring money into the school,” CSN Faculty Senate Chairwoman Camille Naaktgeboren said, referring to fellow subcommittee members. “I’m willing to give it a shot.”