Lees-McRae College Case Study

Lees-McRae College Case Study

Critical Funding to Bridge the Gap

SouthState designed a financing solution for Lees-McRae College that leveraged its product offerings, on behalf of the College, to empower an exciting opportunity.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) makes attractive funding available to certain colleges and universities through their Rural Development Community Facilities program. However, their funding is available only after construction has been completed – that is where SouthState comes in!
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Lees–McRae College

Lees–McRae College is a private college located in the Town of Banner Elk, North Carolina. LMC sits on 450 beautiful acres in the Appalachian mountains, strategically positioned amid skiing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, hiking and rock-climbing venues. The College is a tight-knit community, with around 875 students, and has several notable disciplines of study. LMC also boasts a wonderfully dedicated donor base of both alumni and seasonal residents of Banner Elk.

The Opportunity

The School's campus, which includes many historic stone buildings and an unparalleled mountainous setting, is one of its greatest assets. Recently, the most iconic buildings in the center of campus, a student commons building and two dormitories, received funding for renovations from USDA. Built in the 1920’s this building complex is at the heart of the College and restoring them to prominence is a key component of LMC’s campus master plan.

USDA Program: The United States Department of Agriculture has several programs to support rural development, and is selective in the communities it chooses to deploy funds. The Community Facilities Program makes both grants and loans available to non-governmental entities. The takeout loans are highly favorable to those that qualify, with subsidized fixed rates and amortization of up to 40 years. Since the USDA does not finance initial construction in this program, a bond anticipation note or bank loan is often utilized to bridge the gap.
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The Solution

The Solution

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SouthState leveraged its product offerings to design a financing solution for LMC that enabled this exciting opportunity:
  • Drawdown Construction Loan. The ability of SouthState to offer drawdown loan results in not only peace of mind, regarding construction draw timing, but also in LMC saving extensive interest expense during the construction period (versus requiring the College to draw all the funds at closing).
  • USDA Takeout. By evaluating the financial strength of both the College and the USDA funding, SouthState was able to provide an attractive financing rate during construction.
  • Relationship Banking. In order to compliment its basic lending need, LMC will enter into a comprehensive banking relationship with SouthState. The Bank’s ability provide consultative services in the higher education space should benefit the College for years to come.
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