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Bob Ferguson

AGO 1957 No. 47 - Apr 15 1957
Attorney General John J. O'Connell

MAY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE WESTERN WASHINGTON COLLEGE OF EDUCATION LEASE COLLEGE LAND TO PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONSTRUCTING HOUSING FACILITIES FOR MARRIED STUDENTS AND IF SO UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS

The board of trustees of the Western Washington College of Education may lease state college land to private individuals for the purpose of erecting buildings for student housing purposes under the conditions set forth in RCW 28.76.180 et seq.

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                                                                   April 15, 1957

Honorable W. W. Haggard
President
Western Washington College of Education
Bellingham, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 57-58 No. 47

 

 

Dear Sir:

 

            Your letter of March 29, 1957, requests the opinion of this office as to whether the board of trustees of the Western Washington College of Education has authority to lease land belonging to the college to private individuals, for the purpose of constructing housing facilities for married students of the college.  In addition, if the college land can be leased to private individuals, you ask under what conditions it may be leased.

 

            In summary, it is our opinion that the board of trustees of the Western Washington College of Education may lease state college land to private individuals for the erection of buildings for student housing purposes under the conditions set forth in RCW 28.76.180et seq.

 

                                                                     ANALYSIS

 

            RCW 28.76.180, in so far as pertinent to your inquiry, provides as follows:

 

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "The board of regents of the University of Washington and that of the State College of Washington and the boards of trustees of the state colleges of education at Ellensburg, Cheney and Bellingham, are hereby severally authorized to:

 

            "(1) Enter into contracts with persons, [firms, or corporations] for the erection of buildings for dormitory, hospital, and infirmary, student, faculty and employee housing and boarding purposes, and for student activities;

 

            "* * *

 

            "(3)Lease to any persons, firms, or corporations such portions of the campus of their respective institutionsas may be necessary for the construction of buildings for the purposes aforesaid and the reasonable use thereof;" (Emphasis supplied) (Bracketed material omitted by the Code Reviser)

 

            It is our opinion that the portion of RCW 28.76.180 quoted above gives the board of trustees of the Western Washington College of Education authority to lease portions of the college land to private individuals, firms, or corporations, for the construction of student housing facilities.  The balance of RCW 28.76.180 and several of the sections which follow give authority and alternative plans for the financing of the construction of buildings authorized by the cited statute.

 

            It would appear that the contemplated plan of action of the board of trustees is to enter into a lease purchase contract with the retirement of the indebtedness for the cost of the construction of student housing facilities to be paid from the rentals of such housing units.

 

            RCW 28.76.180, subparagraph (5) grants the trustees of the state colleges of education authority to contract for the payment of the erection costs of buildings authorized by the statute on a rental or other basis, or by the issuance of bonds, which contract must terminate within forth years.  Subparagraph (6) of RCW 28.76.180 authorizes the boards of trustees of the state colleges to expend and to obligate the income from fees and charges or rentals on housing facilities, dining rooms, hospitals and infirmaries, for the payment of the obligation of contracts or bond issues authorized by the statute.  The precise wording of these statutes is as follows:

 

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            "(5) Contract to pay as rental or otherwise, or issue bonds for a sum sufficient to pay, the purchase price of said lands and buildings, or the erection costs of buildings or appurtenances on the amortization plan; the contract or bonds not to run over forty years;

 

            "(6) Expend on the amortization plan any part of the fees, charges, or rentals on any or all rooms, dormitories, dining rooms, hospitals, infirmaries, housing or student activity buildings, land or the appurtenances thereon, and to pledge the net income from the fees, charges, or rentals for the payment of all rental or erection or other contract charges or of bonds agreed to be paid on account of such dormitory or dormitories, hospital, infirmary, dining rooms, housing and student activity buildings, land, or appurtenances.  The authority granted in this section shall be liberally construed, and shall not be limited to buildings presently constructed or to be constructed, but shall apply to any and all buildings of the same classes in the respective institutions, and shall include authority to refinance existing and future obligations incurred hereunder, and shall include authority to pledge for the amortization plan the net income from any and all existing and future buildings of the same classes, whether or not the same were originally financed hereunder or under predecessor statutes."

 

            RCW 28.76.200 provides that the rate of interest on the principal of any obligation incurred by authority of RCW 28.76.180 shall not exceed seven per cent per annum, payable semi-annually or annually.  RCW 28.76.210 provides that the incurrence of liability under the provisions of RCW 28.76.180 shall not extend to the state.

 

            In conclusion, it is our opinion that the board of trustees of the Western Washington College of Education has authority under the provisions of RCW 28.76.180 et seq., to enter into a contract with private individuals for the leasing of college land for the erection of student housing facilities, the costs of erection of such housing units and interest and other charges to be retired from the rentals of such housing units, the contract not to exceed forty years in duration, nor the rate of interest on the principal to exceed seven per cent per annum.

 

             [[Orig. Op. Page 4]]

            We trust the foregoing analysis will be of assistance to you.

 

Very truly yours,

 

JOHN J. O'CONNELL

Attorney General

 

 

STEPHEN C. WAY

Assistant Attorney General