Officials with the Rural Development division of the United States Department of Agriculture announced today that Emory & Henry College would be eligible for as much as $17.3 million in low-interest loan assistance for major infrastructure projects on its Washington County campus.
Although Emory & Henry has not yet determined whether it will take advantage of the financing, E&H President Rosalind Reichard welcomed the news that the College had been approved for the loans. “That we are eligible for this financing speaks to the financial strength of this institution,” Reichard said. “We are very pleased to have the flexibility that this loan would provide as we move forward with investments in our campus facilities that improve the living and learning conditions for our students.”
The loans, should the College seek to use them, would be applied toward the construction of a visual and performing arts center, supporting a program in the arts that has produced successful graduates in the fields of studio art, graphic design, teaching and performing. The money also would help with the renovation of Wiley-Jackson Hall, the largest student residence hall on the E&H campus.
The loans would be made at rates below market value and would be paid up over 40 years (as opposed to 20 years for normal commercial loans).
The announcement Thursday was made by Dallas Tonsager, USDA Rural Development Under Secretary. “Rural educational facilities like Emory & Henry College are charged with the responsibility of providing the next generation with the proper tools to prosper, and it is Rural Development's mission to see that they have modern, up-to-date facilities to accomplish this task.”
In recent years, Emory & Henry has taken up more than $35 million in construction and renovation projects, including the construction of two new residence halls and a field house as well as a major addition to an academic building and significant enhancements to the College’s athletic stadium.
Thanks to these investments, Emory & Henry students live in some of the most up-to-date residence halls of any college or university in Virginia. At the same time, students attend classes in new and modernized facilities on an historic campus of striking beauty.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities, according to Tonsager. Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of existing federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a stronger partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities, Tonsager said.
The USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $170 million in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.