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Furman University to use refunding bonds for 2006 renovations

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Staff Report
gsanews@scbiznews.com
Published Feb. 23, 2016

A large expansion at Furman University will be refinanced using S.C. Jobs-Economic Development Authority bonds.

Furman will use $64.69 million in Series 2015 Economic Development Revenue and Revenue Refunding Bonds to refinance a 75,000-square-foot expansion of the Charles H. Townes Science Center and the renovation of student housing facilities on campus.

The Charles H. Townes Science Center on the campus of Furman University was completed in 2008. The bonds used to finance the 75,000-square-foot expansion will be refinanced using S.C. Jobs-Economic Development Authority bonds. (Photo by Teresa C. Hopkins)

The Charles H. Townes Science Center on the campus of Furman University was completed in 2008. The bonds used to finance the 75,000-square-foot expansion will be refinanced using S.C. Jobs-Economic Development Authority bonds. (Photo by Teresa C. Hopkins)

“Furman continues to build on its reputation of academic excellence through wise investment in academic and support facilities,” said Harry Huntley, JEDA executive director, in a statement. “The timing was right to replace those older EFA bonds with a new economic development revenue and refinancing issue, and we are pleased to facilitate.”

The Townes Science Center was completed in 2008 using Educational Facilities Authority bonds issued in 2006. Those bonds will be refinanced with the Series 2015 bonds from JEDA. According to authority, the expansion retained 877 employees at Furman.

“Refinancing our previous debt with more favorable terms allows us to further leverage our position as a tax-exempt educational entity that focuses on utilizing our resources in the most efficient way possible,” said Kristopher Napoor, Furman’s chief investment officer.

The center is named after Charles Townes, a Greenville native who won the Nobel Prize in physics for work that led to the development of the laser. The renovated center includes magnetic resonance, molecular biology and geographic information system labs, as well as a planetarium and “extensive zoological collection.”

Along with the renovation of the Townes Science Center, Furman also underwent the renovation and rehabilitation of Lakeside Housing. The student housing facility includes seven buildings and more than 600 beds. The renovation was the first step in a multiphase project to “modernize Furman’s traditional freshman and sophomore residence halls.” A bulk of the housing facility was built in the 1960s and 1970s.

Mary Lou Merkt, Furman’s vice president for finance and administration, said the renovations were geared toward an “integrated residential experience throughout their four years; this means students are required to live on campus throughout their tenure.”

“The on-campus experience is an intentional engagement strategy that connects students’ in-class and out-of-class experiences intricately and provides a diverse community venue in which students live, learn and put their knowledge to work,” Merkt said.

Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd P.A. in Greenville served as the bond counsel for Furman.

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