Campus: CSU Fresno -- February 01, 2002


Save Mart Center Bonds Snatched Up By Investors

A $74 million bond sale to finance the 16,000-seat Save Mart Center at Fresno State was enthusiastically received today by investors who made commitments to purchase all of the bonds.

"Investors responded very positively to the offering," said Deborah Adishian-Astone, executive director of the California State University, Fresno Association, Inc. "This is unprecedented for collegiate financing of this type."

The bonds went on sale today (Thursday, Jan. 31). They were offered by the California State University, Fresno Association, Inc. through Salomon Smith Barney Inc., the underwriter for the sale.

"The bond underwriters quickly reported the exceptionally positive reaction of investors," Adishian-Astone said.

The association, a nonprofit auxiliary organization that supports the university, sold senior Series 2002 bonds. Bonds are typically used by the government and nonprofit organizations to finance large capital construction projects.

"I'm very pleased to see Fresno State's Save Mart Center generate such strong support from large, well-known funds as well as our local financial community," said Fresno State President John D. Welty.

"With the support of the people of Central California, our university has been able to achieve some great things, such as the construction of Bulldog Stadium, the Downing Planetarium and the Smittcamp Alumni House," Welty said.

"We have more than $150 million in construction projects under way at Fresno State right now. That's a great thing for the university and for the economy of the Valley." The bonds are secured through contractually-obligated income that includes naming rights, corporate sponsorships, private gifts, luxury suites and "Arena Builder" and personal seat licenses.

Adishian-Astone said, "We have been very conservative with our financial projections for the Save Mart Center project. There was tremendous interest in the bonds throughout California. I see that as a great statement about the strength of the university and the Valley."

Construction of the Save Mart Center began in December at the corner of Shaw and Chestnut on the east side of the campus. Clark Construction is the builder of the 450,000-square-foot facility, which is the largest privately-financed project in the history of the 23-campus California State University system. The center is expected to be completed in November 2003.
The Pepsi Bottling Group and Save Mart Supermarkets kicked off Fresno State's fund-raising campaign three years ago with a $40 million contribution for naming and sponsorship rights for the arena.

Since then, major donors have included Cal Fed; Kroeker, Inc.; SBC Pacific Bell; The Leon S. Peters Foundation and Pete Peters of Fresno; The Lincy Foundation; the Fansler Foundation of Fresno; George and Ernie Beal, owners and operators of Johnny Quik Food Stores; and several anonymous donors.

Additional information about the Save Mart Center, including a live Web cam that tracks the Center's construction, is available at www.SaveMartCenter.com.

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