State treasurer supports USM Nursing after successful bond sale

State treasurer supports USM Nursing after successful bond sale

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Mississippi's Treasurer closed a successful bond sale last week that saved the state $36 million and contributed $20 million to the University of Southern Mississippi's Nursing School construction project.

"Health care is vitally important," said state Treasurer Lynn Fitch Thursday on a tour of the site. "Health care is an economy driver right now. That's long range, and it's going to continue to be an important part of where we move forward in the state of Mississippi."

Fitch stressed the importance of managing long-term state debt in a conservative manner and said the product of those practices is things like the new nursing building, named Asbury Hall.

The new location, which has an estimated construction cost of $31 million, is also supported by $4.2 million in federal grants. The University launched an $8 million fundraising campaign for the building, and the Asbury Foundation donated $4 million toward the campaign, which has raised more than $6 million from the private sector.

According to USM, the new building will increase the square footage by 135 percent and increase nursing school enrollment from 550 to more than 800 students.

"Asbury Hall, paid in part by private dollars, is a perfect example of using our resources to ensure Mississippi stays competitive and allow our students to have access to the best schools and universities," said Fitch.

A release from Fitch's office also said that the state entered the market with two refunding issues of $249,980,000 tax-exempt refunding bonds (Series 2015C) and $179 million taxable refunding bonds (Series 2015D), with $24 million saving achieved on the tax-exempt refunding and $12 million on the taxable refunding, producing a total of $36 million in savings for the refinancing transactions.