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Wayland restructures bonds to fund improvement projects

Wayland Baptist University
Wayland Baptist University(Facebook)
Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 2:33 PM CDT
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PLAINVIEW, Texas (KCBD) - The Wayland Baptist University Board of Trustees met on October 28 and approved a plan to restructure several bonds in order to secure approximately $3 million to use for specified, tax-exempt projects such as capital and infrastructure improvements. It is the first time in Wayland’s history that this type of fiscal maneuver has been undertaken.

In an effort led by Chief Financial Officer Lezlie Hukill, Wayland began looking at the prospect of restructuring or reissuing the bonds. Reissuing bonds at a lower interest rate enables the university to save on debt repayment. The majority of the bonds were originally issued for the construction of Jimmy Dean Hall, the purchase of the Anchorage campus building, and renovations made to the University Center. Wayland has retired approximately $18 million in debt in the last decade. This restructuring will not increase the amount of debt owed on construction projects, nor extend the length of the repayment schedule.

“This action is truly in the University’s best interest and I’m pleased the trustees unanimously approved it,” said Rick Breeden, chair of the Board of Trustees. “Restructuring the university’s bonds reduces the interest rate we are currently paying, providing significant savings, and freeing up some additional funding allowing us to complete several much-needed capital improvement projects.”

Wayland President Dr. Bobby Hall explained that the $3 million dollars will be used for infrastructure upgrades that fall under a tax-exempt category. Initial plans include technology upgrades and repair of the concrete area that stretches between the science building and the library. This area covers the underground level that houses Wayland’s technology hub. Weather and direct sunlight have caused the concrete to deteriorate to the point that the university has identified it as a risk-management issue.

“Including the upcoming renovation and new construction on the Moody Science Building, Wayland will have made more than $22.3 million in facility improvements across our system over the last five years,” Hall said. “And it’s remarkable that Wayland was able to do that without raising our debt load.”

The administration will also look at improvements to parking lots, HVAC systems and other areas of need as funding is available. Dr. Hall said the improvements align with the university’s strategic plan, as well as facilities and maintenance plan, and the system-wide prioritization of technology needs.

The technology upgrades will focus primarily on wireless access, increasing the number of access points and decreasing internet load time in Wayland buildings. In a technology-driven environment, students are using laptops and cell phones to connect to their e-textbooks in classrooms. When a large number of people are on the network, access becomes limited. Wayland employees will also benefit from increased access and download speeds in their offices. New network infrastructure equipment will also be added to take advantage of the increase in bandwidth on campuses, improving wireless and network performance for all campus locations, and improving collaboration between instructors and students.

Senior Vice President of Operations and Student Life Dr. Claude Lusk said these, along with other, improvements will greatly impact the student experience at Wayland.

“We are excited about the opportunity to address some significant needs related to our facilities,” Lusk said. “It is important to us that these expenditures relate deeply to our ability to deliver both our educational and experiential product.  With these projects, we will definitely be able to enhance the quality of the learning and living experience for Wayland students, employees, and guests.”

Pending the finalization of the restructuring, funds should become available early in 2022. Dr. Hall said there is basically a 3-year window to complete the projects.

“Our Board was excited about the opportunity to undertake this reorganization and we greatly appreciate their leadership and foresight to work with Lezlie Hukill to expedite the process,” Hall said. “Their leadership in this matter can’t be overlooked and we greatly appreciate their support of the university and interest in providing a quality educational experience for our students in Plainview and around the world.”

Dr. Hall said work on these projects will not interfere with plans to break ground on the addition to the Moody Science Building in February. The new construction will include updated lab and classroom space for Wayland’s School of Mathematics and Sciences as part of the recently completed Impact2020 campaign.

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