Orange County sells $64.4 million in bonds for renovations at Chapel Hill High School

ORANGE COUNTY (June 26, 2018) -- Orange County sold $64.4 million in General Obligation bonds Tuesday to finance renovations at Chapel Hill High School. The County received 13 bids, which indicates a very strong demand for the County’s bonds. The county achieved a true interest cost of 2.88% from the underwriting firm of Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc.

The bonds will be repaid over a 20-year term from property tax revenues. In November 2016, Orange County voters approved a General Obligation Bond Referendum for $120 million to fund various projects for both county school districts. The bonds received an approval of 75.5% of the voters.

All three of the major bond rating agencies affirmed the County’s ‘AAA’ bond rating, which allows Orange County to achieve the lowest possible borrowing cost for a sovereign, state or local government. A strong bond rating is an important prerequisite for a successful bond sale. Orange County is among a few governments in the nation that have achieved a ‘AAA’ rating by all three of the major rating agencies. 

The three rating agencies cited:

  • Very strong economy with access to a broad and diverse metropolitan statistical area
  • Strong financial position and comprehensive fiscal planning and proactive management
  • Manageable long-term debt burden

The $64.4 million in bond proceeds are part of the County’s FY 2017-18 Capital Investment Plan. The Chapel Hill High School renovations are scheduled to be completed in December 2020 and will add 68 new classrooms clustered around extended learning labs throughout each building. The proposed addition is projected to increase student capacity from approximately 1,500 to 1,625.

The County will have $34.6 million in remaining GO bond authorization from the 2016 referendum -- $31.9 million for Orange County Schools and $2.7 million for Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools.