NESCACs take on new projects

This week in the NESCAC, money is on the mind. Williams College and Bowdoin College have seen great returns on their endowments and some are partaking in construction projects. Williams has been facilitating talks about construction projects on their campuses and the surrounding areas. According to The Williams Record, the College has undertaken a collection of renovation and new construction projects that will cost about $287 million over the next five years. Currently, Williams is either actively engaged in or on the eve of launching nine substantial construction projects, with 10 more on the list of potential long-range plans.

These projects incorporate all areas of the College: academic and administrative buildings, student dorms, athletic facilities and more. The College aims to have all buildings that cost over $5 million adhere to LEED Gold standards, a benchmark set by the United States Green Building Council. None of the current or planned future projects will produce self-sustaining buildings, such as the Class of 1966 Environmental Center completed last year; however, all College buildings will be constructed with environmental efficiency in mind. This initiative to engage in so many construction projects has partially stemmed from the recent performance of the College’s endowment. The Williams Investment Office believes that the endowment is capable of achieving an annualized real rate of return of five percent, allowing the College to spend up to five percent of the endowment each year.

Similar to Williams, Bowdoin has seen great returns on their endowment. An article in The Bowdoin Orient notes that the College’s endowment generated an investment return of 14.4 percent in fiscal year 2015 (FY15), making it the third consecutive year that the endowment has generated double digit returns. On June 30—the end of FY15—the endowment was valued at $1.393 billion. The College’s three, five, and 10-year annualized returns are 16.5 percent, 14.7 percent and 10.5 percent respectively. The endowment’s growth has significantly increased the primary resource that allows Bowdoin to offer its students financial aid. Of the total endowment balance, approximately 46 percent is restricted to financial aid spending.

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