Southwestern College Refinances Prop. R Bonds

Artist rendering of the new Landscape and Nursery Technology multipurpose classrooms
The complete renovation of the Landscape and Nursery Technology facilities are among the projects being paid for with this bond sale.

For the second time in less than a year, Southwestern College is refinancing Proposition R bond funds to save taxpayers money, this time realizing $25 million in saved interest over the next 17 years.

In June, the district refinanced other Proposition R funds for a savings of $10 million over the next 20 years.

As the district refinances older bond issuances, the Governing Board recently voted to sell an additional $46 million in bonds to complete several projects currently in design and in construction.

“We take our role as financial stewards very seriously,” said Governing Board President Leticia Cazares. “We applaud our staff for continuing to find ways to repay taxpayers for their investment in our students and our facilities.”

In their February meeting, the Governing Board voted to move forward with the construction of the Auto Technology at the Higher Education Center at Otay Mesa, and the Landscape Nursery Technology and the tennis courts relocation projects at the Chula Vista campus. Also included in the current phase of construction are upgrades to the baseball and softball fields, relocating a portion of the college’s solar array, relocating the ceramics classroom and workshops and remodeling two other buildings.

These particular projects were chosen to move forward because there is little chance of having to make changes to the buildings with post-COVID practices.

“The nature of the work performed within both the Landscape Nursery Technology and Auto Technology facilities are designed to easily incorporate social distancing,” said Dr. Kelly Hall, assistant superintendent/vice president for business and financial affairs. “Landscape Nursery Technology is an indoor and outdoor facility and Auto Technology is a single-bay design with minimal space for gatherings of multiple individuals.”

As part of the refinancing process, Southwestern College received two AA credit ratings: “Aa2” by Moody’s Investors Service and “AA-” by Standard & Poor’s. The ratings were a welcome sign from investors, Hall said.

“To maintain the same credit rating is a huge win for us because we have had declining enrollment and uncertainty because of the pandemic,” Hall said.

The credit rating and savings to taxpayers continue to show that Southwestern College is a worthy investment for South County residents, said Superintendent/President Dr. Mark Sanchez.

“Southwestern College continues to be an economic engine that funds the dreams of any student who wants to improve their lives and the lives of their families,” Sanchez said.