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MassDevelopment awards tax-exempt bonds to three Newton-based colleges

A rendering of the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society to be built at Boston College.BOSTON COLLEGE

MassDevelopment announced Monday it has issued more than $179 million in tax-exempt bonds for Boston College and two other higher education institutions in Newton, according to a statement.

Boston College and William James College will use proceeds from the bonds to make improvements to their campuses, the statement said, while William James and Lasell University also will refinance existing debt using the bond proceeds. MassDevelopment is a state quasi-public economic development agency that financed or managed 341 projects across Massachusetts in fiscal 2020, according to the statement.

Dan Rivera, MassDevelopment president and CEO, said the state’s colleges and universities drive its economy by educating its future workforce, creating jobs, and serving as “hubs of research and innovation.”


“MassDevelopment is proud to help these great schools maintain their quality and competitiveness by improving their educational experience and saving money by refinancing with lower interest rates, which is especially important after the economic impacts of the global pandemic,” Rivera said in the statement.

Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said the three schools are “vital members” of the city’s community.

“Their students are part of the fabric of Newton and their educators and staff not just work here but also often live and recreate here,” Fuller said in the statement. “All three enrich our understanding of the world, make Newton a better community, support our small businesses, and bring creative minds and new ideas into our midst.”

In the statement, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy said: “These colleges and universities are major contributors to the Newton community and our Commonwealth’s economy.”

According to the statement, Boston College will use about $101.9 million in bond proceeds to demolish Cushing Hall and replace it with a new 157,000-square-foot science facility to serve as the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society.

The university also will upgrade and expand its central heating plant and demolish the William J. Flynn Recreation Complex. The athletic facility will be replaced with new tennis and basketball courts, a new quadrangle lawn, surface parking, and subsurface storm-water detention, the statement said.


Lasell University will use $54.8 million in bond proceeds to refinance previously issued debt, according to the statement, including a $10 million tax-exempt bond issued by MassDevelopment in 2015.

That bond was used to help the school build and furnish an academic center, as well as renovate and furnish a Victorian house to serve as a residence for the university’s president and as meeting and administrative space, the statement said.

William James College will use nearly $22.9 million to update its main campus building, including replacement of the roof and windows, the statement said.

It also will refinance previously issued debt, including an $18.4 million tax-exempt bond issued by MassDevelopment in 2016. That bond was used to help the college purchase, renovate, and equip its building at One Wells Avenue, according to the statement.

John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.