SEMO regents approve $29 million bond plan

Friday, December 16, 2011

Southeast Missouri State University will continue to grow with Thursday's approval by the board of regents to issue $29 million in system facilities revenue bonds that will fund construction of a new residence hall and a chiller and boiler plant near the Show Me Center.

The 262-bed residence hall to be constructed on an existing parking lot north of the Seabaugh Polytechnic Building by fall 2013 will be the third expansion of student housing in 10 years.

According to the university, the cost of the project, including addition of the new chiller and boiler plant, is estimated at $30.9 million. Proceeds from the bonds will cover $27 million in costs. Other funding will come from the use of released debt service reserve funds from previous bonds, reserves from changing operations of the university's power plant, maintenance and repair general fees and excess revenue from incidental fees caused by higher numbers of students enrolled.

The board looked at three options for expansion to the university's utility system that will be needed with the addition of the new residence hall.

The first option would have included replacement of two existing chillers for $3.2 million. The second option would have been to construct a new 500-ton chiller plant near the Show Me Center for $3.6 million. The board chose the third, $6.2 million option, which will consist of building a new chiller and boiler plant near the Show Me Center.

The university's decision to add the chiller and boiler plant will allow a large area of campus to gain a backup system in case one system fails and provide for growth of the campus, said Kathy Mangels, the university's vice president of finance.

"As we worked with our engineers to look at different options, not only the cost, but thinking about the entire campus system, we kept coming back to the issue of having redundancy, not only for this new residence hall, but for the entire campus," Mangels said.

University president Dr. Ken Dobbins said the new plant will provide the university with the utility structure it would need to expand the campus to the north.

The residence hall most recently constructed on the south end of campus has been named now that an even newer hall will be built. Regents approved naming the building formerly known as New Hall, west of Houck Stadium, the William A. and Christene A. Merick Residence Hall, or Merick Hall. According to a university news release, the university foundation recently received a $4.3 million unrestricted gift to support education from the family estate of the late Christene Merick of Catron, Mo.

Regents also welcomed a new member, Kendra Neely-Martin, a pharmaceutical sales representative and not-for-profit marketing instructor from St. Louis. Neely-Martin was sworn in by retired associate circuit judge Iris G. Ferguson.

eragan@semissourian.com

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