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Tiger Village at Grambling State University – “Deal of the Year”

December 11, 2007

VALDOSTA, Ga., December 11, 2007
– The $59.3 million student housing community, Tiger Village at Grambling State University, was awarded “Regional Deal of the Year” for the Southeast by The Bond Buyer newspaper. The Bond Buyer, a public finance newspaper, which has served the municipal bond industry for more than 110 years, reaches more than 40,000 municipal finance professionals, bond issuers, government officials and investors. RISE completed the on-campus student village with development team members Ambling Construction Company, RBC Capital Markets and architect, Niles Bolton Associates.

“RISE is extremely proud of the collective effort of all team members, particularly,

the Grambling administration.

The vision and spirit of partnership as we collaborated on this fantastic project has resulted in a first-class housing facility that enables Grambling State University to enjoy many fruitful years. This award validates the commitment to the future and drive for excellence by Grambling State University,” said Greg Blais, senior vice president, RISE.

In November, The Bond Buyer’s editors announced the national finalists for its sixth annual Deal of the Year Awards, recognizing the top 10 most innovative municipal bond issuers for transactions that financed projects including: bridges, hospitals, schools, water, environmental protection, airports, student housing, affordable housing, and military housing. The award was given to the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority for its sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds for the “Black and Gold Facilities” project; new student housing located on-campus at Grambling State University.

“As universities across the nation strive to compete for students, housing has become a critical component in the decision making process for students and their parents. When the University first discussed the project with us, they emphasized their dire need for replacing the majority of the University’s housing not just based on the outdated condition of the facili- ties, but also as a mechanism to correct some of the University’s financial and enrollment trends.

“Tiger Village has had a tremendous impact in revitalizing the Grambling campus and RBC Capital Markets is proud to have structured and implemented a cost-effective financing package that has helped Grambling on its path to reclaiming its legacy,” said Michael Baird, RBC Capital Markets.

Entries were evaluated throughout October by The Bond Buyer bureau chiefs and were judged by five criteria: innovation, risk-taking, financial complexity, the ability for a deal to serve as a model for other financings, and the public purpose for which the transaction’s proceeds were used. Transactions were judged for innova- tion in several categories, including the complexity of the problem solved by the financing, and the potential for the transaction to be replicated.

Grambling, a once struggling historic university needed image and physical changes to its campus to better support its heritage, growth and ability to recruit and retain students. The deal brought new resources to an area where other traditional options were unavailable. Tiger Village was awarded this distinction because of the incredible ‘turnaround story’ it told.

“The Bond Buyer 2007 Deal of the Year Award vali- dates the overall high quality of the project. Tiger Village has already had a significant positive impact on student satisfaction and recruitment. And it helps to create excitement about other campus projects,” said Horace A. Judson, president of Grambling State University.

Grambling State University’s campus housing was rapidly reaching a point of inhabitability and needed to do something drastic to attract students. The first phase replaced 1,204 beds and acquired a 48-unit apartment complex on the edge of campus. This phase was financed with $55.7 million of tax-exempt bonds and $3.6 million of taxable debt sold by the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority in 2006. Phase II, a $42 million bond deal to add 800 beds is currently under construction.

“For CIFG, Grambling went beyond traditional student housing projects and gave us an opportunity to make a lasting impact across an entire institution with a rich heritage and legacy. We saw a transformation of student life, not just a student housing project. As a bond insurer, you don’t get many chances to have that kind of impact,” said Raymond A. DiPrinzio, head of project finance, CIFG Assurance North America, Inc.

The awards selection committee considered deals that closed between Oct. 1, 2006 and Sept. 30, 2007. Nearly 100 nominations ranging in size from several billion dollars to just a few million were submitted for projects across the country. All regional finalists for the overall “Deal of the Year 2007 Awards,” were announced, in December at a formal dinner in New York City.

“This award recognizes Dr. Judson and his development team’s vision, hard work, and innovation in improving the campus facilities for the benefit of Grambling’s students. It also reflects Grambling’s commitment to the University of Louisiana System’s accountability and continuous improvement initiatives. This is simply great news and well deserved,” said University of Louisiana System President Sally Clausen.