Preliminary bond deal brings new Molloy dorms closer

Home away from home: In 2011, Fitzgerald Hall opened and welcomed Molloy College's first-ever residents. They may soon have some new neighbors, thanks to the Town of Hempstead Local Development Corp.

Don’t start planning those keggers just yet, but new dormitories for Molloy College are a step closer to reality.

The Town of Hempstead Local Development Corp. has issued preliminary approval for the sale of $15 million in tax-exempt bonds on behalf of the Rockville Centre college, with the money earmarked for the construction of new student residences.

Final authorization for the bond sale won’t come until the Development Corp. – which provides low-interest, tax-exempt bonds to Hempstead-based nonprofits, educational institutions, hospitals, civic entities and charities – hosts a public hearing on Sept. 10. Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen must also sign off on the deal.

But the preliminary approval, issued at the LDC’s Aug. 23 meeting, is a great sign for Molloy College, which hopes to use the bond sale to complete the $20.5 million third phase of its longstanding Campus Master Plan – including construction of a 27,000-square-foot, 3-story, 95-bed dormitory on grounds currently covered by a parking lot and undeveloped green space.

Don’t blame Molloy College if it’s already counting its chickens: There’s evidence aplenty suggesting this is a done deal, in the form of previous Molloy College tax-exempt bond sales authorized by the Hempstead Local Development Corp.

That includes a 2009 bond sale that enabled the construction of dorms and other facilities on the college’s roughly 24-acre campus. The LDC also greased the skids last year, when the college sought low-interest financing to refinance previously issued debt.

All of the tax-exempt bonds approved by the LDC are to be repaid by Molloy College and are secured by a lien on the developed land and the new buildings. There is “no out-of-pocket expense to Town of Hempstead taxpayers,” according to the Development Corp.

Molloy College has been on something of a facilities roll this summer. In July, the Rockville Centre school was one of several Long Island educational institutions to earn campus-infrastructure funds through Albany’s Higher Education Facilities Capital Matching Grant Program.

Molloy College won a $1.02 million state grant to help fund Phase 1 of its new Molloy Science Center, part of $12.6 million haul earned by Long Island colleges and universities in the latest round of the HECap.

But the good news from the Hempstead LDC marks an even bigger forward step for Molloy’s Campus Master Plan, which first secured all regulatory approvals with the Village of Rockville Centre, the Nassau County Department of Public Works and the county’s Health Department back in 2008.

“There is no doubt that the sale of these new bonds, once final, will have a great impact on Molloy College, as well as on the economics of the surrounding communities,” Fred Parola, executive director of the LDC, said in a statement.