College secures bond for library project

Following the issuance of a bond by MassDevelopment, the College has secured the necessary funding for continuing with the Stetson-Sawyer project, among other campus improvements. With the funding received via the bond, as well as funding from College alumni, the project is now set to move forward after a three-year stall.
Massachusetts’ finance and development authority, MassDevelopment, started the sale of $50 million in variable-rate revenue bonds on March 17.
The end result was an approximately $89.21 million tax-exempt bond issued to the College. “The money became available to the College when the bond transaction closed, which was on March 24,” said Bill Lenhart, provost and treasurer. “The funds are held by a trustee and released as needed.”
According to Angela Schaeffer, director of communications, the College gained access to the total amount of the funding in two different series of bonds.
“[The] first series is to cover any number of really wide-ranging capital projects, some of which are new, some of which are renewal kinds of projects,” Schaeffer said. “The series that covers capital projects is about $50 million.”
The decision of where specifically to allocate funding remains in the hands of the College administration, despite the fact that MassDevelopment actually issued the bond.
“Basically, the College submitted a list of eligible projects that could be funded by this bond and which actually get funded depends on a lot of things,” Schaeffer said. One such deciding criteria is the current standing of the project, she clarified.
Among other potential renovations, the fundraising has allowed the previously stalled $128 million Stetson-Sawyer project to continue.
The recent inflow of funding led President Falk to recommend that construction begin in the near future, with a tentative start date of just after Commencement this spring.
“An exact date hasn’t been set for the groundbreaking, but it will probably be sometime in June,” Schaeffer said.
Construction was originally set to begin in 2008, but was delayed due to the recession.
Funding from the wider College community has also been instrumental in financing the library project in particular. Strong alumni support yielded a total of $40.2 million in alumni funds in 2010, and the College has already received $34.86 million in funds as of January 2011, according to the Boston Business Journal.
As for the second series of the bond, the College plans to use that funding for “refinancing of the existing debt,” Schaeffer said, particularly in “converting existing bonds from variable-rate bonds to fixed-rate bonds.”
The amount allocated for this purpose is the bond’s remaining $39 million.