At its quarterly meeting Saturday, the UVI Board of Trustees approved plans to borrow $60 million from the Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Capital Financing Program to finance a 100-bed St. Thomas dormitory and pay off some existing bonds.
The HBCU loan will also fund improvements to teaching laboratories, classrooms, faculty offices, and conference rooms on the Albert A. Sheen campus on St. Croix, according to a statement from the university.
“This is the most attractive arrangement that is available,” UVI President David Hall said in the statement. The municipal bond market has not been conducive to new bonds, said Hall, adding that interest rates on municipal bonds are now more than 6 percent. The HBCU loan agreement was negotiated at a rate of about 4.3 percent, which Hall called “a significant difference” that UVI had to consider.
Trustees also approved a revision to the current fiscal year 2010-2011 operating budget, reducing government appropriations/allotments by $992,000. The revised UVI Fiscal Year 2010-2011 Operating Budget projects total revenues and expenditures of roughly $49 million.
The board approved a memorandum of agreement between UVI and Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College in St. Kitts, providing lower tuition rates for CFBC graduates to attend UVI.
In other business, a sexual harassment policy and a proposal to establish academic minors passed unanimously.
The board also approved a proposal to maintain UVI’s current policy to release only position and salary information – while withholding the names of employees.
David Zumwalt, executive director of the UVI Research and Technology Park, pointed to UVI’s recent announcement of a $5 million donation by Kiril Sokoloff, founder of RTPark client 13D Research.
“This is the sort of tangible outcome that we have all wanted to see materialize between the research and technology park and the university,” Zumwalt said in the statement.
Zumwalt added that production capabilities and bandwidth are increasing on St. Croix and St. Thomas, and a request for bids for the RTPark’s main facility on the St. Croix Campus has gone out, with responses due by June 27.
The UVI Board of Trustees will hold its next meeting in October, on UVI’s St. Croix campus.