DALLAS — Texas Christian University will enhance the collegiate experience for its students on its Fort Worth campus with the proceeds from a pending competitive sale of $40 million of higher education revenue bonds. The bonds will be issued through Red River Education Finance Corp., a conduit established by the town of Windthorst. The town of 4,400 residents is located in Archer County, about 15 miles south of Wichita Falls. The notice of sale sets a date of Nov. 27, but Mary Williams of First Southwest Co., TCU’s financial adviser, said the sale is day to day. “We have that flexibility, and we want to take advantage of it,” she said. The university’s $233.2 million of outstanding debt carries underlying ratings of Aa3 from Moody’s Investors Service and AA-minus from Standard & Poor’s and AA-minus Fitch Ratings. Moody’s has affirmed the Aa3 on the planned issue, and the university expects to receive a rating from Standard & Poor’s. McCall, Parkhurst & Horton LLP serves as TCU’s bond counsel. All the proceeds are earmarked for new buildings and renovations to existing facilities as TCU works to improve the physical assets of the university that recently commenced its 135th academic year, according to assistant treasurer Dick Hoban. The $100 million Campus Commons effort, part of an overall $300 million capital program, includes the new Brown-Lupton University Union, four new residence halls, and renovations to existing academic buildings, Hoban said. “This is the second and final phase of a $100 million plan to renovate the core of our campus. For years, the campus core was a foundation and a parking lot,” he said. “It was the vision of our administration and trustees to reconfigure the campus core and make it the focal point of the university,” Hoban added. “The new student center, flanked by the four dormitories, will be a big part of that effort to improve the quality of the college experience.”The university opted for debt financing for the core campus project rather than relying on fund-raising so the work would be completed quickly, Hoban said. “We wanted a nice, collegiate atmosphere for that area, we wanted it expeditiously, and the only way to get that done was to go out and borrow the money,” he said. Two of the centrally located dormitories opened for the fall 2007 semester, with the other two expected to be completed in spring 2008. The new student union will be open for the fall 2008 semester. The university expects to generate the remaining $60 million for the Campus Commons project through private fund-raising. The TCU campus has been a hotbed of construction activity as the university upgrades and improves its facilities, Hoban noted. “It’s not just this core campus project,” he said. “We’re doing a lot of work on buildings across the campus. At one point last spring we had seven construction projects under way.” Over the next two years, TCU will open eight new facilities. In addition to Campus Commons project with the four new residence halls and student union, the university will complete a new and renovated College of Education, a new indoor practice facility, and a new bookstore. The new student housing facilities are part of the university’s effort to increase the number of students living on campus, Hoban said. “At this point we have 3,317 students living on campus, or about 46% of our total enrollment of about 8,200,” he said. “We’re trying to get that up to about 70% of our students in on-campus housing.” In his welcoming remarks to students, faculty, and staff as the fall semester began in September, TCU chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. said the new Campus Commons is the realization of a dream. “We will have created an environment rich in personal interaction, a place where intellectual vitality and social engagement intersect, and where students of different cultures and values can learn from each other,” Boschini said.
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