The San Diego Mesa College Math+Science Complex, completed in 2014, is the largest instructional facility at a California community college.

A decade-long building program that has transformed San Diego Community College District‘s nine campuses reached a milestone last week with the final bond funding under two voter propositions.

Some $122 million in Proposition N bonds were sold on Thursday, and $524 million in earlier Proposition N and S bonds were refinanced at a lower interest rate, completing the district’s $1.55 billion capital program.

“This bond sale was successful due to the high quality of the district’s financial management, the top bond ratings, and the excellent progress of our construction projects using the public’s investment,” said Chancellor Constance M. Carroll.

Prior to the sales, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the district’s bond rating from Aa1 to Aaa, marking the third time Moody’s has upgraded the district’s rating since 2005. Standard & Poor’s reconfirmed its AA+ rating and raised the outlook from “Stable” to “Positive.” Both ratings services recognized the district’s solid financial position, experienced management team and construction track record in their reports.

The improved ratings resulted in an $80 million savings in interest payments by the district.

Proposition S, which authorized the sale of bonds in the amount of $685 million, was approved by voters in 2002. Proposition N, which authorized the sale of bonds in the amount of $870 million, was approved by voters in 2006.

Revenue from the two bond measures is being spent on projects for City, Mesa and Miramar colleges, and the district’s six continuing education campuses. These projects include nearly 30 major renovations or expansions, 30 new facilities, and dozens of infrastructure, public safety, and accessibility upgrades across the district.

With the bond sales complete, the district can now wrap up the final Proposition N projects, including a new Center for Business Innovation and a new Fine Arts & Dramatic Arts building at Mesa College, and extensive modernization of a child development center and three buildings at City College.

The district is the second-largest of California’s 72 community college districts and serves a 100,000 students annually.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.