The second bond issuance of Measure E, the Santa Clarita Community College District general obligation bonds, were sold on Aug. 7, yielding $85 million to assist College of the Canyons in building out the Canyon Country campus and upgrading the Valencia campus.
“We look forward to enhancing facilities at both campuses, which will allow us to expand programs and services for students and deliver on the commitment we made to voters in 2016,” said College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “This year marks the college’s 50th year of service to Santa Clarita, and thanks to the community’s support through Measure E, we are well-positioned for continued growth and development in the years to come.”
As a part of the financing process, the District re-affirmed its credit ratings with Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s, which issued an “AAA” rating—the highest rating assigned to a community college—and an “AA” rating, respectively, with stable outlooks.
As a result, the district received over $544 million in orders for the $85 million in bonds being offered, which demonstrated significant investor interest in the district’s bonds.
The current interest bonds went to market August 7 with a final true interest cost of 2.8 percent, down from 3.1 percent just 24 hours earlier. The rate drop, which came in response to action by the Federal Reserve and changes in the global economy, led to a $7 million savings for local taxpayers.
“The successful outcome was due to the expertise of district staff and their financial advisors, who ensured the college was ready to take the bonds to market at the optimal time,” said Assistant Superintendent/Vice President of Business Services Sharlene Coleal.
Local voters approved Measure E in June 2016 for a total of $230 million to fund multiple projects at both campuses. The bonds are funding construction of the Science Center, which is located at the Canyon Country campus and serves as a focal point for students and first-time visitors. The approximately 52,000-square-foot building will primarily be devoted to physical and biological sciences, housing eight labs, plus lecture classrooms.
The Student Services/Learning Resources Building will be the new home to Student Services and The Learning Center (TLC). The four-story building will sit adjacent to the Science Building at the center of campus and will provide office and library space.
Measure E also enabled the college to build a three-story parking structure at the Valencia campus, which added 1,659 parking spaces. Measure E funds will also go toward the renovation of several existing buildings at the college’s Valencia campus.
Projections show student enrollment at College of the Canyons growing to reach 30,000 students per semester over the next decade or so. That increase is expected in part from new programs like Canyons Promise, which provides first-time, full-time students with two free years of college, as well as College Now!, which enables high school students to take courses without paying the $46 per unit enrollment fee.
The district’s bond finance team included Piper Jaffray as the Investment Banking/Underwriting Firm, Isom Advisors serving as Municipal Advisor for the transaction, and Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth serving as Bond and Disclosure Counsel.