Liberty University raises $120 million for construction plans
Liberty University announced recently that it will undergo a $120 million major construction upgrade over the next three years to steer it towards a new age of expansion and progress.
The Lynchburg-based University raised the funds in just two days in New York City by selling 30-year, tax-exempt education facilities bonds. In so doing, they will not have to cull funds from their endowment, fostering even quicker growth overall, ABC 13 reported.
Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. told PR Newswire, “It is humbling for me to witness God’s blessings of such magnitude on Liberty University. This is a wonderful Christmas gift to Liberty and its students.”
In the past, Liberty had used its own cash reserves to pay for major capital projects. However, it chose this time to make use of the prevailing low interest rates, tax-exempt financing and low construction costs, PR Newswire said.
The News and Advance said the showpiece of the overall plan will be the refurbishing of the back of the DeMoss Learning Center, where there are currently a number of buildings, a cafeteria and a small courtyard.
LU will demolish the older buildings to give way to a large outdoor quad and a freestanding library. Falwell said, “That’s something we’ve never had on campus, an open area for students to enjoy the outdoors and just sort of a green area,” The News and Advance reported.
An 8,000 square-foot land area in Campbell County will be used for a new health sciences building for LU’s existing nurses’ programs, plus new programs for physical therapists, athletic trainers, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, The News and Advance said.
ABC 13 said LU will additionally build a new practice area for the basketball team, and an intramural sports complex. Eventually, it hopes to add a large parking deck.
Fallwell said about $72 million of the money raised will pay for recently-completed capital projects. He told PR Newswire the new campus facilities “will greatly enhance the educational experience for students, [and] will revolutionize the look and feel of the campus.”
S & P Rating
LU acquired an AA bond rating from Standard & Poor’s, ranking it alongside the top 44 S&P-rated colleges and universities including Cornell University, John Hopkins University and Emory University, PR Newswire said.
Its high bond rating is due to LU’s strong financial grounding of late. Net assets increased from $100 million in 2007 to $530 million today, PR Newswire said. It is expected to exceed $1 billion by 2014, a goal which the late Jerry Falwell, LU founder, had targeted for 2017.
Falwell Jr. told ABC 13, “There’s going to be a lot of dirt flying around Lynchburg here the next few years.”