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School District approves agreements for employee housing

By October 15, 2022October 26th, 2022News

Board approves plans to develop 7 units on 3 properties in Hailey

By MIKE SHULTZ Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County School District board of trustees unanimously approved on Tuesday three ground-lease and development agreements in collaboration with the ARCH Community Housing Trust to build affordable workforce housing for district teachers and staff.

The district will provide the land for development, and ARCH will be responsible for raising money for designing, developing, constructing, managing and maintaining the housing at an affordable price point. The School District will maintain control of the properties as assets. Development plans will move forward at the district’s Bullion Street, Croy Street and McKercher Boulevard properties in Hailey. The board is projecting the completion of these units as early as fall 2024.

The board has been working with a legal team and ARCH for the last few months. The planned housing developments would add seven units for staff to rent.

“We have approved a public-private partnership with an innovative community partner, which is a not-for-profit entity without the demands of a return on investment to obtain financing for development capital,” said Trustee Dan Turner. “This will allow for enormous flexibility in the pricing of rental units to our workforce, opening the door for an inventive income-based rental model.”

The lack of affordable workforce housing and its impact on teachers and staff has been an area of focus for the board over the past couple years. In 2021, the board approved a $1 million emergency employee housing relief fund to help meet the needs of teachers and staff dealing with rising housing expenses. A fundraising event in summer 2022 netted close to $900,000 to support the first phase of this affordable workforce housing development.

The board has delegated certain oversight and managerial authority of the three projects to BCSD Superintendent Jim Foudy, who has been authorized to serve as the “landlord’s liaison” on behalf of the district.