Members of the Henderson State University Board of Trustees voted 5-2 in a special teleconference meeting to approve a resolution regarding enterprise revenue secured bonds.

Members of the Henderson State University Board of Trustees voted 5-2 in a special teleconference meeting to approve a resolution regarding enterprise revenue secured bonds.
According to Dr. Brett Powell, vice president of finance and administration at HSU, trustees recently authorized the university’s administration to pursue making critical repairs and maintenance of residence halls.
Based on the research, Powell said it would cost approximately $1 million to make the necessary improvements to Smith Hall.
“This resolution is giving us authority to issue a one million dollar bond,” said Powell.
According to Powell, the $1 million will be used to make improvements to the building’s HVAC system.
“The chiller in the building was about 50 percent beyond its life expectancy. Chillers of that nature should last 30 years - it has been in for almost 50. Replacing the chiller was a critical need at this point,” Powell explained.
Powell noted that the seventh and eighth floors of Smith Hall have not been occupied for the last year due to concerns over keeping those floors cool and ventilated.
“Part of the work would allow us to reopen the seventh floor, which is necessary based on our occupancy rate,” said Powell, who added that the university has reached its capacity for bed space for women.
In addition, Powell reported an additional component to the project pertains to the brick on the building.
“We’ve worked with a contractor and they have a solution that they believe is going to be much more affordable than what we talked about in the past, which was essentially stripping the brick off of the building and replacing it with some other finish,” Powell said.
According to Powell, contractors believe they can reattach the brick to the building in a way that will ensure safety to students and others around the building.
Powell said a metal lintel welded to the building failed, therefore causing the bricks to fall to the ground.
“Those three pieces combined will be approximately a million dollars,” said Powell.
According to Powell, the bond is a private placement bond that administration has prearranged with an entity that purchased the bond.
“We went through a bidding process and asked financial institutions would they buy the bond if we issue it, and if so so, what would be the proposed maturity date and the proposed interest rate. We got one response to that from Southern Bancorp Bank,” Powell said.
Powell explained how the administration developed the structure for securing the bond.
“Essentially, it was to ensure that if later we determined that we need to come back and issue bonds to do more extensive work to Smith that we would have the ability then to pay off this debt,” Powell explained.
According to Powell, the university hopes to get the bulk of the work completed by the end of the summer.
“Some of it is going to spill over into the fall, but we’ll arrange that in ways where we are doing as little as possible to disrupt students,” said Powell.
Move-in for most students is Saturday, Aug. 18.
“We do have some earlier move-ins for some athletic and band programs, but we’ll make arrangements if the building is not ready for those students,” Powell said.
According to Henderson State University President Glen Jones, the work at Smith Hall is the first step the university is taking.
“The board also asked if we would look at a more comprehensive approach to define and determine a more comprehensive solution to analyze housing moving forward,” said Jones.
Moving forward, Jones said the plan is to gather a group of students, alumni and possibly an external firm, to do an in-depth analyze of the university’s current housing situation.
“This is a way to allow us to accommodate students for this upcoming year, while at the same time, being able to think more deeply about what are the best options for Henderson long term as it relates to housing our students,” Jones said.
According to Powell, the numbers of students that will be housed in Smith Hall this fall is expected to be more than the 2017 occupancy.
“We actually are full in Newberry also, and we actually opened up more beds there. Every bed that we have said is available is full, that’s why we are working on getting more opened,” said Powell.
By opening the seventh floor of Smith, Powell said it will provide an additional 40 beds.