Chatham asks county to issue bonds to build on its campus in Richland

Government money would not be used for $27 million plan

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Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald will ask members of county council to consider a plan that will help Chatham University construct a new residence hall and a dining/commons building at the school's Eden Hall Farms campus.

There will be no liability to the county and no county funds will be used, county spokeswoman Amie Downs said.

The plan calls for the Allegheny County Higher Education Building Authority to issue bonds not to exceed $18 million so Chatham can build a residence hall and a commons building containing a dining hall, classrooms and a student lounge at its campus in Richland.

Financing authorities, such as the county higher education building authority, can issue bonds on behalf of other organizations to aid in securing lower interest rates.

The proposal will be introduced at 5 p.m. Tuesday when county council meets in the county courthouse. In accordance with council rules, it will be referred to a committee for discussion before a vote can be taken.

Bill Campbell, a Chatham spokesman, said Friday the buildings, with a combined cost of $27.7 million, will represent the second phase of developing the 388-acre campus that is now a commuter campus. Officials hope the new buildings will be ready by late summer or early fall 2015, allowing Eden Hall to be a residential as well as a commuter campus.

He said the residence hall would have approximately 75 beds.

The project, when complete, will enable Eden Hall to become the home of Chatham's Falk School of Sustainability. It is a further evolution for the property donated to Chatham by the Eden Hall Foundation in 2008.

"This is a major development for Chatham," Mr. Campbell said.

He said the building authority met Tuesday and approved tax-exempt status for the bonds. The university is also in the process of securing local approvals in Richland, Mr. Campbell said.

Bill Schackner:, 412-263-1977 and on Twitter: @BschacknerPG. Kaitlynn or 412-263-1707.

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