Bond to fund awaited campus improvements

Posted Dec. 8, 2006

An approximately $15 million bond will be issued next November to help the University of La Verne with the completion of the Campus Center.

The amount for the bond is not certain, it could range from $13 to $20 million or perhaps even more, said Avo Kechichian, associate vice president and treasurer for the University.

“The most dramatic change is completing the Campus Center Project and all the associated improvements,” said Philip Hawkey, executive vice president of the University.

Officials’ intentions to issue a bond were revealed last month at the board of trustees meeting.

Benefits associated with the new bond are meant to produce a high-quality campus and therefore attract more students.

The University has raised $26.1 million through pledges, however the pledges usually come in over a period of five years.

The bond would fill in the gap in order to finish the Center as soon as possible.

The actual Center is expected to cost $20.5 million, although associated costs will cause the University to spend nearly $35 million.

This includes the completion of the pavilion, the relocation of the baseball field to south of Arrow Highway, finding a new place for the soccer field, building a parking structure to accommodate the Center, relocation of utility wires and the excavation of a 15-foot deep hole, Hawkey said.

This is not the first time the University has issued a bond, the last one was in 2005 for which the University still owes $28 million,

The new bond will be added onto the amount the school already owes but this added amount will be expected to be paid by 2037.

The University will make a payment every year based on the actual amount of the bond, the interest rate, and the term of the loan.

Currently the bond is expected to be larger that the sum of money that is actually needed to pay for the expenses surrounding the Campus Center project.

The hope is that the surplus money will help fund other projects on campus.

Such projects could include new housing facilities and possibly improvements to Founders Auditorium.

“I think the idea is ‘since we’re getting the bond lets take that bond to do other projects on campus,’” said Jonathan Reed, faculty representative to the advisory board and professor of religion.

ULV faculty seems to be supporting the bond as long as it is used to improve important areas of the University.

“The big question is how are the decisions made about what facilities would be improved,” Reed said.

“That’s what I think faculty is most concerned about.” Reed added.

Although faculty would like to see academic programs improved there are limitations to the bond and what it could be spent on.

“Normally bonds are issued for capital projects,” Kechichian said.

“Bonds are not intended for operating expenditures such as compensation and benefits,” he added.

University officials will ultimately decide the size of the bond and on what other projects the surplus money will be spent

“For the University the lowest cost of borrowing would be a bond issue,” Kechichian said.

“Building the Campus Center is strategically important for the University,” he added.

Laura Bucio can be reached at lbucio@ulv.edu.

Kady Bell can be reached at rzezna65@yahoo.com.

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