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Wheaton College Gets New Academic Center

MassDevelopment Bond Financing Helps School Renovate Building to House Career Services, Academic Programs & More; Fund Additional Campus Upgrades

August 9, 2021

Kelsey Schiller, 617-694-9695

Gene Begin, Wheaton College, 508-286-3223

Photo courtesy of Wheaton College

NORTON, Mass. – MassDevelopment has issued a $13,420,000 tax-exempt bond and a $21,320,000 taxable bond on behalf of Wheaton College, which will use proceeds to fund a variety of upgrades to its 400-acre campus in Norton. The college will renovate an existing building to create a new academic center that will house advising and career services, applied health, business, and psychology academic programs, and innovative makerspaces; improve parking and accessibility pathways; upgrade mechanical systems and IT infrastructure; and complete other various renovations and capital projects. Wheaton College will also use proceeds from the bonds, which were sold through a public offering underwritten by Barclays Capital Inc., to refinance previously issued debt. 

“MassDevelopment’s low-cost financing helps Massachusetts colleges and universities move ahead with important capital projects that position them to remain successful institutions of higher education for years to come,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors. “These institutions not only provide students with world-class academic opportunities, but also stimulate local economies with teaching, administrative, and campus jobs.”

“Wheaton College has a long and rich history in Norton offering a variety of academic programs and opportunities to students looking to further their education,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “MassDevelopment is pleased to support the college as it continues to invest in the student experience on campus, especially during this time of higher education mergers and acquisitions and in the post-pandemic economy. These updates and improvements to the campus will help the school continue to provide a first-rate educational experience.” 

Founded in 1834, Wheaton College was established as a female seminary and was chartered as a four-year liberal arts women’s college in 1912 before becoming coeducational in 1988. The private, residential college is located on a 400-acre campus in Norton and offers primarily a liberal arts and sciences curriculum featuring more than 600 courses of study. Wheaton enrolls 1,750 students who come from 30 states and 50 countries. The school has more than 100 student-run clubs and organizations, 21 NCAA Division III athletic teams, athletic clubs and intramurals, and more than 100 study-abroad programs.

“The Town of Norton appreciates the support of MassDevelopment in this project,” said Norton Town Manager Michael Yunits. “These improvements at Wheaton College will ensure that the college continues its important role in economic development for the entire region.”  

“We are thankful for our partnership with MassDevelopment,” said Wheaton College President Dennis Hanno. “The funding provides us with the capital necessary to enhance many aspects of our campus experience, ensuring Wheaton continues to provide a transformative education to our current and future students.”

MassDevelopment, the state’s development finance agency and land bank, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2020, MassDevelopment financed or managed 341 projects generating investment of more than $2.69 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 10,871 jobs and build or preserve 1,787 housing units.