USDA loans Coker $500,000 for expansion

Coker College in Hartsville is receiving a $523,300 loan from the USDA to purchase a 3-acre tract next to campus, known as the oil mill property.

The college does not have enough parking on campus to accommodate 1,200 students, faculty and visitors. Purchasing this property will provide the college with needed parking space and allow for future expansion.

This is one of 41 projects USDA is investing in through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program.

The funding helps rural small towns, cities and communities make infrastructure improvements and provide essential facilities such as schools, libraries, courthouses, public safety facilities, hospitals, colleges and day care centers. For example:

Limestone College, located in Gaffney, is receiving a $34.5 million loan to purchase a three-story, 204-bed, 45,000-square-foot student housing facility, construct a 65,000-square-foot library and refinance approximately $7.9 million of debt. The college has been leasing the facility since 2016 from Limestone Student Housing LLC.

Its enrollment of more than 2,560 students ranks it amongst the largest private, regionally accredited institutions in South Carolina. Additional funding for this project includes a $3.5 million USDA Community Facilities loan guarantee and a $4.5 million applicant contribution.

The Whitesville Rural Volunteer Fire Department will be receiving a $300,000 loan to provide additional financing to construct a fire department facility.

The department serves approximately 12,000 residents in the growing Cane Bay area.

The projects will help improve the quality of life in rural areas in Alaska, Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities program funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally and state-recognized Native American tribes.

Applicants and projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. Loan amounts have ranged from $10,000 to $165 million.

Author: Rachel Howell

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