Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill last week authorizing tuition revenue bonds totaling over $30 million for projects proposed by the University of Houston-Victoria.
In all, the Texas Legislature authorized $1.8 billion in TRBs to purchase, build and renovate facilities at 48 university campuses in Texas.
“I am sincerely grateful to Gov. Perry and the legislators whose support is helping to make these proposed projects a reality,” said UHV President Tim Hudson. “The endorsements of Rep. Geanie Morrison, co-chair of the Select Committee on Higher Education, and Sen. Ken Armbrister, as well as the UH System Board of Regents, were instrumental in ensuring that UHV will be able to proceed with more projects at one time than has ever been the case in its history. We are fortunate to have leaders who recognized that these capital improvements are critical to UHV’s ability to provide higher education opportunities to the citizens of the Golden Crescent and to contribute to regional economic development.”
The UHV projects to be funded with the TRBs include the following:
--a regional economic development center. This 40,000-square-foot structure will provide offices for the Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission, the Victoria Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center and other local entities, while internships for UHV students in its new economic development program may also be conducted there. The total cost for the center is estimated at $8.5 million, and the approved TRB for it was $6.7 million.
--an allied health facility. The Legislature approved $1.8 million for this project, which could be added as a wing of the proposed economic development center, developed as a separate structure, or integrated into current space.
-- a complex at the University of Houston System at Sugar Land. The $35 million building will be partly occupied by Wharton County Community College and will feature faculty offices, classrooms and laboratory space. The approved TRB of $22.9 million will be supplemented by funds generated through the “Building Our Futures Together” campaign, a plan to combine internal financing with external partnerships to raise money for construction of the complex. The building should be ready to occupy by late 2007 or early 2008.
TRBs are bonds that are authorized by the Legislature for education and research related facilities for public institutions of higher education. They allow universities to issue debt—against future revenue from tuition—to build classrooms, laboratories and other essential facilities.
Although the bonds are legally backed by the forthcoming tuition of each institution or system, the Legislature historically has appropriated state funds to the institutions for the debt service of the bonds. Institutions will seek the debt service funding for the TRBs from the Texas Legislature during its next regular session in 2007.
The signing of this legislation gives institutions the authority to work through the required planning and approval processes before issuing the debt to begin construction on projects.
“This legislation will make a significant difference in the life of UHV and our capacity to serve our students,” said Hudson.