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The Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority plans to sell $28 million in revenue bonds next week to the Brunswick School, which will use the proceeds to purchase the 16.5-acre campus originally built for Rosemary Hall, a boarding school that opened in 1903. It will enable Brunswick to “Expand early childhood education offerings and employee housing options,” according to initial bond offering documents.
Prep schools rarely borrow in the municipal bond market, but that may change as demand for institutions rises, with their access to the Ivy League and other major colleges and universities increasing. The new bond deal will enable the school to add up to 35 new students to its middle school and high school divisions, documents say.
It would also allow Brunswick to move its preschool, with an enrollment of 90 boys, to the new campus in fall 2024 and create a daycare for up to 50 infants for preschool-aged children.
Elite boarding schools and day schools have no taxing power, and rely on tuition fees, endowment profits, and funds from alumni to pay the bills. Brunswick alumni include social networking pioneers and OG Bitcoiners, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and founders of retailer Vineyard Vines, Ian and Shep Murray.
The documents say that last September, Brunswick launched a campaign to raise $130 million, and as of September 15, more than 51% of this goal had been achieved. Her previous campaign, launched in 2012, raised $106.7 million, exceeding her goal of $100 million. In an investor roadshow for its upcoming bond sale, the school says its endowment has reached a market value of $179 million as of June 30, 2023.
The school did not respond to requests for comment.
Brunswick runs from Pre-K through Grade 12. Annual tuition for the current school year ranges from $45,225 for Pre-K to $53,250 for Senior School, grades 9 through 12. The average annual tuition increase over the years has been The past five are about 3.5%, according to the campaign document. Brunswick says 25 of the 108 graduating class of 2023, or 23%, will attend an Ivy League school.
For the current academic year, Brunswick’s acceptance rate is 26%. This is down from 30% in 2022, but up from the 21% achieved in the pandemic year of 2020, when the school saw applications rise to 792, “a large portion of which came from New York City-based families.” According to the documents.
Greenwich sold bonds earlier this year, and bond offering documents indicated that owner-occupied housing units in the city had a median value of $1.38 million, compared with $433,000 in Fairfield County and $279,700 in Connecticut.
Brunswick says that of the 174 full-time and six part-time faculty members it employs, 85 of them live in school-owned housing near its campus. The renovation of up to four buildings on the newly acquired campus will provide 16 staff housing units, and “will enable many resident faculty to walk from their homes to their classrooms.”
S&P Global Ratings rated the latest bond deal A+, citing “strong market demand for the school and its location against the backdrop of a competitive school environment in the Northeast.”
The bond’s underwriter, JPMorgan Chase & Co., said it could not comment before or during pricing of the issue. The bonds are scheduled to be priced on September 26.
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