Lakes Region Community College, Laconia, NH

Lakes Region Community College (LRCC) is a fully-accredited, not-for-profit, community college located in the city of Laconia in the beautiful Lakes Region of New Hampshire. The college serves approximately 1,200 students, offers many associate degrees and certificate programs, as well as training for business and industry.

Several years ago, the college installed a monochrome digital message center to take advantage of its high-visibility location on Route 106, a main north-south thoroughfare. After about three years of use, the sign broke and the college was not able to find replacement parts to repair it. The sign company that LRCC purchased the sign from was not able to provide assistance, making the situation more difficult.

Due to the costs associated with replacing the sign, LRCC was not able to immediately purchase a new sign. Carlene Rose, a business professor at LRCC, and also marketing lead for the college, improvised by creating a series of banners that were placed over the display to promote important events for the college, such as open houses and enrollment events. Just as the pandemic began, LRCC was able to earmark funds to replace the non-functioning message center.

“Our marketing team and college leadership worked collaboratively to determine the best direction for the sign’s replacement,” said Rose. “We explored several different options, and in the end, felt strongly that digital was the way to go. We are on a high-traffic road and are visible to commuters as well as visitors driving here to take advantage of the area’s many attractions. This is our opportunity to connect with the community.”

Rose enlisted the help of her marketing agency, WaLa Marketing Group, to specify what was needed and to vet different vendors. This time it was crucial they find a company that stands behind its products and delivers great support. “Watchfire came out in a demo truck with Sousa Signs and showed us different sign options,” said Rose.

“We were especially impressed with Watchfire’s support and their great customer references.” Casey Southwell, digital product specialist for Manchester, NH-based Sousa Signs, said that Watchfire’s strong 10-year parts guarantee is one reason they like working with Watchfire.

Sousa Signs retrofitted the original monument sign cabinet with a new Watchfire message center, which made the project cost-effective and quick. Because of Sousa’s quick response, LRCC was able to have the sign installed and ready before the fall 2020 semester began. Today, the message center is used to post messages about admissions, financial aid, career information, and upcoming tours, as well as to welcome important guests to the campus.

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