Ground broke on Wednesday at the vacant lot next to the Blaine County School District’s administrative offices in preparation for a first-of-its-kind staff housing project.
Superintendent Jim Foudy praised the unique and growing partnership between the school district and the nonprofit developer ARCH Community Housing Trust. “This is just the beginning,” he said, with two more projects already in the works.
The two-story apartment building with four three-bedroom units and a one-story detached studio unit at 128 West Bullion St. should be ready for teachers or other school district employees to move in at the beginning of the 2024-2025 school year, said School Board Trustee Dan Turner.
The ARCH Community Housing Trust will own the building, the district will maintain ownership of the land and act as the landlord, renting the units to employees at no more than 30% of their adjusted gross household income.
Adding affordable housing, Turner said, will “be a multiplier for the effect great teachers have on the community.”
The district already owns a single family home in Woodside used for employee housing. The home was built by students through the Residential Construction Academy. Turner said the district has been able to make two hires because of that house.
It was less than two years ago, Turner noted, that the district formed a staff housing working group in response to the crisis-level need for employee housing. The group immediately created a $1 million rent subsidy fund, which provided immediate rental assistance to current or new employees, he said. The next piece was identifying the “sprinkling” of land holdings owned by the district and then explore possibilities for development.
“We have a lot of land, but not a lot of cash,” Turner said. “And not a lot of development expertise.”
That’s where ARCH came in, the developer selected through the bidding process.
“ARCH was thrilled to be selected as the development partner for the school district,” ARCH Executive Director Michelle Griffith said in a news release. “Our philanthropic approach to funding development gives the district complete flexibility to ensure that the homes are affordable for their staff. We would also like to thank our community of donors who have been incredibly supportive.”
Griffith said her organization is about $250,000 short of the $3 million budget and fundraising goal for the Bullion Street project.
The next two planned partnership projects are for district-owned property on Croy Street and McKercher Street. ￼
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Compare ARCH approach or City of Sun Valley approach to City of Ketchum approach. ARCH is building housing for teachers. City of Sun Valley is building housing for firefighters. City of Ketchum is building housing for employees of companies like Marriott and Sun Valley Co and Aspen Ski Co, as well as for retirees. Which approach makes more sense to you?
Teachers and firefighters earn a professional income and can engage the open housing market with greater success than the company employees you mentioned. We all need shelter.
Of course we do. But where and paid for by whom? Do we all "deserve" a taxpayer subsidized retirement condo in the heart of Ketchum? For company employees, why is housing Marriott employees something that should fall on Ketchum taxpayers? It is a hotel the community overwhelmingly did not want.
I always thought of workers as people. Residents. Neighbors. To reference them as "labor", "employees" or the "work-force" is a bit demeaning, as if they are somehow unworthy or disposable. (The Ketchum Meat Market Mentality). I applaud Kaz Thea`s reference to Hailey`s housing efforts as "community housing". Hailey seems to have a good idea in providing the housing (integrated within the community) and making up the cost by renting (and sales) to residents. Hailey has a Merriott hotel as well. And while I voiced disapproval in the planning stage I see no reason to not welcome their honest, hard working help to Hailey, the best and fastest growing small town in the West. Ketchum would do well to consider the human needs of the people they employ instead of focusing so narrowly on the bottom line.
Welcome to the discussion.