Baylor Construction Projects On Schedule And On Budget; University Locks In Interest Rate At Near 50-Year Lows

Jan. 19, 2004

by Larry D. Brumley

As work continues on-schedule and on-budget for $200 million in capital projects under way at Baylor University, the institution took another step to enhance the value of the long-term indebtedness used to finance some of the projects.

The university this month fixed the interest rate on approximately $60 million of the $246 million in long-term debt that was issued in 2002.

"By fixing the interest rate of 3.8 percent on this portion of our debt, we now have 95 percent of our long-term debt set for the next 28 years at interest rates that are approaching 50-year lows," said David R. Brooks, vice president for finance and administration. "This kind of prudent fiscal management reduces the risk to the university of rising long-term interest rates in the future and has allowed Baylor to construct much-needed academic and student life facilities that enable our faculty and students to teach, discover and learn at one of the most modern and well-equipped campuses in the country."

A significant portion of the bond proceeds is financing a state-of-the-art sciences building. The 530,000-square-foot Baylor Sciences Building is 80 percent complete and is expected to be ready for occupancy in June. The building will house the life sciences (biology and neuroscience); the physical sciences (physics, chemistry and geology); and five multidisciplinary research/education centers on prehealth education, molecular biosciences, drug discovery, reservoir and water studies, and scientific analysis and computing. It will include 90 research laboratories and an additional 30,000 square feet of research space for future faculty. The building will have a 300-seat auditorium and a variety of classroom sizes, from 150 seats to numerous smaller, 12-person classrooms.

Another major project funded by the bond proceeds is the North Village, Baylor's first residence life facility to be constructed in almost 40 years. The 212,000-square-foot facility, located between the new Dutton Avenue Office and Parking Facility and the Rogers Engineering and Computer Science Building, represents the first partnership between Campus Living and Learning and an academic unit - the School of Engineering and Computer Science. Approximately 180 of the facility's 600 beds will be reserved for engineering and computer science students, who must apply and be admitted to the learning center. The other beds will be available for upperclassmen from other academic disciplines. The North Village is 60 percent complete and will be ready for occupancy starting in July.

The remainder of the bond proceeds has funded or is funding the construction of three parking garages (Speight Avenue, Dutton Avenue and an East Campus garage currently under construction to service the new sciences building), technology upgrades and real estate acquisitions.

Also nearing completion is the Harry and Anna Jeanes Discovery Center, the focal point of the Mayborn Museum Complex. The 143,000-square-foot facility is being funded entirely from gifts and will open in May. Major components of the Jeanes Discovery Center include the Permanent Exhibits Gallery, the Children's World (the former Ollie Mae Moen Discovery Center), the SBC Discovery Theater, the Thomas E. and Emilyne W. Anding Exhibitions Gallery and the AT&T Information Centers.

More information about the construction projects - including photo galleries, videos, fact sheets and stories - is available here.

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