BRADENTON -- After gaining support through a community survey and letters of recommendation from local groups, Manatee Technical Institute officials are formally asking the Manatee County School Board to change the name of the school to Manatee Technical College.
The request will come before the board during its meeting Tuesday. MTI Director Doug Wagner said he thinks the board will approve the decision easily.
"I feel like this is the right thing to do for our students and our community," he said.
The name change, which would include changing all the
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letterhead and signage, would cost an estimated $10,000 from MTI's budget.
This action would not change how the school operates, programs offered or funding. It would not change school accreditation and does not require legislative approval, according to the agenda.
The name change is meant to more accurately showcase programs MTI offers. Changing the word "institute" to "college" would clear up confusion and stereotypes as to what MTI offers, and would follow trends in the state and nationwide, officials said.
Some school enrollments have increased after name changes, which MTI officials are working to do, Wagner said.
For example, a name change from Pinellas Technical Education Center to Pinellas Technical College was approved by the Pinellas County School Board in August. The cost for changing signage, business cards and letterhead was estimated at less than $30,000 for its two campuses.
Officials in Sarasota County made a similar name change in November. Sarasota County Technical Institute is now Suncoast Technical College,after the Sarasota County School Board made the change official Nov. 4. The district has yet to assess the cost of the name change.
In Manatee, before bringing the name change to the board, Wagner and MTI officials gained the support of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp., Manatee County Chamber of Commerce, MTI Alumni Association, MTI Foundation, MTI Board of Governors and Careersource Suncoast.
Changing the name would put MTI on the same plateau as other local schools, said John Ziemnicki, MTI Foundation president and chairman of the MTI Board.
"We're a college and we teach technical programs," he said.
Ziemnicki said he's excited for the potential name change. "We're looking forward to it," he said. "It's really a move in the right direction."
If the change is approved, it would be the fourth school name in MTI history. The school opened in 1963 as the Manatee Area Vocational and Technical Center. The school has four campuses, including a 210,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility on State Road 70 that opened in 2013.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.