The University of Connecticut will come to market later this week with a $225 million sale of general obligation bonds, including a new-money component for construction and renovation at its health center.
UConn will hold a retail sale Friday and Monday before Tuesday's institutional sale, according to John Sullivan, the school's manager of treasury services.
Sullivan said UConn will sell $189 million of new-money bonds and refund $36 million. About $117 million will go toward construction of the new UConn Medical Center in Farmington, a Hartford suburb, and the balance toward capital improvements at the Storrs flagship and regional campuses. UConn's fall 2012 enrollment totaled 30,256, including 22,301 undergraduate and 7,955 graduate students.
"We're optimistic about this bond issuance," Sullivan said in an interview. "It's a fantastic time for UConn. Enrollment is growing and scores are up." He could not pinpoint how much the school could save through the refunding.
The bonds are general obligations of the university, not the state. UConn has roughly $830 million in debt outstanding.
Moody's Investors Service rates the bonds Aa3, while Standard & Poor's rates them AA and Fitch Ratings assigns AA-minus, a notch below the state's AA rating. Fitch assigns a negative outlook while Moody's and S&P assign stable. Fitch last week revised its outlook on the state's GOs to negative from stable.
Maturities will run through 2033 for new-money and 2025 through the refunding.
"Connecticut has a long track record of supporting investments in the university," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Robin Prunty.
Construction is under way adjacent to the health center for a genomic medicine facility for Jackson Laboratory, which will move from Bar Harbor, Maine. Funding for the 189,000 square-foot Jackson building — $291 million in state-issued bonds — is separate from UConn general obligation. Completion of the building, on the health center's lower campus, is expected late in 2014.
State lawmakers in 1995 approved the UConn 2000 Infrastructure Improvement Program, designed for building construction and modernization. The state legislature extended it as 21st Century UConn. The current program, which extends through 2024, totals $4.6 billion, including $4.3 billion of bond authorization through the legislative session that just ended.
Piper Jaffray & Co. is lead manager. Pullman & Comley LLC and the Law Offices of Joseph C. Reid are bond counsel. Hawkins, Delafield & Wood LLP representing the underwriters and Day Pitney LLP is disclosure counsel for the state.