BERLIN, N.H. -- A new law reorganizing New Hampshire's public technical college system does more than change the name.
Advocates of the law, which takes effect in stages over two years, say not only does it change the name of the New Hampshire Community Technical College System to the Community College System of New Hampshire, it streamlines decision-making processes and gives each of the state's seven community colleges more autonomy to implement changes.
In Berlin, college president Kathy Eneguess said the changes will help the school tailor its offerings to North Country students and their needs.
"The Berlin college can now be an independent community college within the system structure," she said.
In particular, Eneguess said, she is looking forward to a new system that shortens the contract approval process for the colleges. Under the old system, the technical college system has been treated like a state agency, which meant all contracts went through a multistep process.
Contracts moved from the college president's desk to the technical college system and then the attorney general's office to be reviewed. Contracts then would go back to the college before being forwarded to the governor and Executive Council to be approved or rejected.
The new system reduces that to a two-step process, allowing a board of trustees to decide on contracts.
"It will be a much less cumbersome process," said Eneguess.
The University System of New Hampshire, including the University of New Hampshire, Plymouth State University, and Keene State College, already uses the shortened process for contracts.
Community colleges will continue to use state services until trustees formalize their policy in the next six to 10 months, Eneguess said.
Like the university system, the community college system will be governed by a single board of trustees.
The other public community colleges are in Claremont, Concord, Laconia, Manchester, Nashua, and Stratham.