HJ Sims Closes on $25.515 Million Series 2022 Bonds for Public Charter School
“This was The Gathering Place’s first experience going to the bond market, and we couldn’t have imagined a better partner to help us through the process. HJ Sims provided steady and reliable support through every step of the process. We’re a young organization going to the market during turbulent times and still walked away with a great deal. We look forward to working with them again. ”
– Asia Klekowicz and Ryan York, Co-CEOs, The Gathering Place
The Gathering Place is a public charter school educating 501 students in the “Near Northwest” neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas. The school was founded to provide students in historically underserved communities a high-quality education that fosters academic performance, creativity, and healthy social and emotional development. The academic model emphasizes a whole child approach through project-based learning, daily art and hands-on projects.
The school’s charter was granted in 2019, and is effective for school year 2020-21 through 2024-25. Projected to grow to 832 students in K-5 by 2023-24, the school also plans to open a middle school facility in 2024-25. Eventually, the school aims to serve 1,404 students in K-8 by 2026-27.
As a school in its second year, The Gathering Place sought financing for the purchase of its leased facility and the construction of a playground, the physical settings that are integral to its learning program.
The Series 2022A tax-exempt and Series 2022B taxable Education Revenue Bonds enabled The Gathering Place to purchase the land and buildings designed specifically for its use, and provided funds to build a playground.
Total bond proceeds of $25,193,912 was used to buy the property at the purchase price of $22,582,608, pay for the playground costs of $300,595, fund a debt service reserve fund, and pay for costs of issuance.
The bonds were structured with a 40-year amortization, allowing for the lowest annual debt service, and with a 5-year call option at par intended to sync up with both the future purchase of a middle school facility and the potential for lower cost financing if it qualifies at such time for the ‘AAA’-rated Texas Permanent School Fund bond guarantee program.
During pricing, The Gathering Place transaction garnered interest for more than $1.2 million, including the entire taxable series B bonds, through HJ Sim’s exclusive, Private Wealth Management distribution network. Furthermore, the HJ Sims institutional sales team engaged with more than 50 institutional investors resulting in participation by 7 of those institutions, in addition to the $1.2 million sold to high net worth retail investors. The tax-exempt bonds have coupons ranging from 5.25% to 5.75%, accompanied by yields ranging from 5.30% to 5.90%. The taxable term bonds with a 2027 maturity have a 5.375% coupon at a yield of 5.50%. The 35-year term bonds have a 5.75% coupon at a yield of 5.80%, and the 40-year term bonds have a 5.75% coupon at a yield of 5.90%.
On May 12, 2022, HJ Sims closed on the $25.515 million Series 2022 Bonds with approximately $1.2 million of the issue purchased by HJ Sims’ Private Wealth Management clients and the remainder purchased by 7 institutional bond funds. In return, The Gathering Place now owns its permanent facility, which provides educational space for over 800 students a year.
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