EDA approves $6 million bond for Christendom College expansion

The Warren Sentinel

FRONT ROYAL — With a series of plans for future development, Christendom College has received a $6 million bond to assist with construction of a new dormitory from the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority.

The bond will be used to assist in the financing or refinancing construction costs of a dormitory; refinancing debt acquired by financing improvements on camps; and financing bond issuance costs and other eligible expenditures.

The new dormitory is about 31,000 square-feet, and is located on the schoolís campus off Shenandoah Shores Road.

The bond presents no risk to the county or the EDA, according to Interim County Attorney Dan Whitten. The EDA also benefits from issuing the bond, as it will receive an initial fee and 0.125-percent interest on the outstanding principal.

The county Board of Supervisors and Town Council are both required to approve the EDAís assistance in financing Christendom, Whitten said. The Town Council recently passed a resolution in support of the bond.

The issuance of the revenue bond does not constitute a debt or pledge of faith or credit of Warren County and it will not be obligated to pay the bond, interests or costs, Whitten said. Similarly, the bond carries no obligation for the town.

The original purpose of EDAs were to issue revenue bonds, Whitten said. Industrial development authorities are permitted by statute to issue revenue bonds to assist non-profit organizations in the acquisition, construction, equipping, expansion, enlargement, improvement and refinancing of facilities.

"In the past, we've done quite a few of these. We haven't had one in a couple of years but they are actually fairly common," Whitten said.

The EDA can issue up to $10 million worth of bonds every year, Whitten said.

"Right now, we don't have any other projects we're anticipating for the year 2016," Whitten said. "So, we should be fine there."

During a public presentation, Shenandoah Farms resident Mellissa Chapel-White expressed concern that the bond violates the rule of separation between church and state. She said she presented the argument without bias, because she attended a Catholic college.

On its website, Chapel said Christendom Educational Corp. is described as a Roman Catholic college.

"I would ask you all to give serious consideration to constitutional questions when issuing any kind of revenue bond for this purpose," Chapel-White said.

There were not any issues with separation between church and state, Whitten said. Previously, the county has issued two revenues to Randolph-Macon Academy, which is a Methodist school.

The words "separation of church and state" are not actually in the Constitution, and were revealed in a Supreme Court decision in the 1900s, Supervisor Tom Sayre said.

More news

Subscribe to our mailing list
Twitter  FaceBook  RSS