Southeast regents approve bond sale

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

In a 30-minute meeting Tuesday, the Southeast Missouri State University's board of regents approved the bond sale for $56.6 million.

Orders for the bonds were taken Monday and will be sold today.

The money will be divided among several projects, according to Dr. Ken Dobbins, the university's president.

The board agreed to spend $23.3 million for a 305-bed residence hall, $2.2 million to renovate Henderson House, and $10.2 million to expand parking, upgrade residential security and equip residential buildings with fire sprinkler systems and some amenities.

Student housing contracts and meal plan revenue will be used to pay back the bonds.

The remaining $15.5 million, Dobbins said, are reserve funds. The reserve will be created by the refinancing of two 1998 bonds, which had been used to expand the student recreation center and group housing renovations. Kathy Mangels, Southeast's vice president for business and finance, said the 1998 bonds were being refinanced at a lower interest rate, 1.82 percent, without extending the remaining 20-year term. The move saves the university up to $51,000 annually, she said.

Dobbins said having the reserve fund helped the university get a AAA rating on the bonds.

Student regent Leni Fluegge, a senior accounting major, said bonds are a low-risk loan that one party makes to another.

"It's a less-risky investment and you have a great chance of getting a return," she said.

Mangels told the regents the new hall will include a first-floor dining room and a locker room that opens to Houck Field for the football and soccer programs. The $23.3 million doesn't cover finishing touches, she said. Those may be funded from the $10.2 million being aside for additional projects or separate fundraising, she said.

The hall will be near the Vandiver Hall and similar in design. Jacobs Engineering Group, Treanor Architects and KAI Design & Build were hired to do the work.

Dobbins said about 160 parking spaces would be associated with the new residence hall. Southeast is also in the process of reviewing available parking spots with the intent of adding spaces at north and south university locations, he said.

Fluegge said combining the projects was a wise move.

Construction on the new 82,000-square-foot residential hall at Broadway and Henderson streets is expected to be complete in time for students to move in for the fall semester.

Dobbins told the board that a public forum on the university's strategic plan will be at noon April 30 in Academic Hall. A copy of the strategic plan will be posted on the university's Web site today.

Brad Bedell, president of the board of regents, said the planning committee had gone down "quite a road with a lot of turns, but it was well worth it."

335-6611, extension 127

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