On April 15 the Triton College Board of Trustees hired a financial advisory firm to advise it on selling bonds as it considers a major bond offering to fund campus modernization. 

The board hired PMA Securities Inc., a part of the PMA Securities Financial Network, a Naperville-based firm that specializes in serving school districts and other public bodies.

“They’re going to advise us on the options concerning bonding,” said Sean Sullivan, vice-president for business services at Triton. “We have to look at what the options are and whether or not it’s in the best interests of the college to do it and if it is what’s the best way to do it.”

Mark Stephens, the chairman of the Triton board, has expressed interest in selling bonds to finance modernizing Triton’s River Grove campus. Triton is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and many of the buildings are largely unchanged from the when they were built in the 1960s.

The college serves North Riverside, Riverside and Brookfield north of Southview Avenue.

In a meeting last month with members of the Oak Park Area League of Women Voters, Stephens said that Triton campus badly needs renovation.

A recent Triton document identifies approximately $34.7 million of potential improvements and upgrades to the campus, ranging from $4.9 million for window replacement throughout the campus to $620,000 for new campus information kiosks with flat-screen displays.

In an interview last month, Stephens said he wasn’t sure if Triton would have to pass a referendum to sell bonds to raise the money to modernize the campus. Stephens said that Triton expects to finish its fiscal year with about $21 million in reserves.

“I don’t know if it will be something that we will have to go to referendum or not,” Stephens said.

PMA will be paid only if Triton issues bonds, a sign that the board is likely to decide to issue bonds.

PMA will be paid $1.25 per $1,000 of bonds issued if there is just one bond issue or $1.75 per $1,000 of bonds issued if there are multiple bond issues, subject to a $15,000 minimum.