Roaring Fork Schools secure another 6 Willits housing units |

Roaring Fork Schools secure another 6 Willits housing units

The Roaring Fork School District will purchase an additional six residential units at the Willits development in Basalt to be included in the district’s teacher housing program.

The deal, approved at a special Roaring Fork school board meeting last week, brings the number of Basalt units up to 23 and the total number of teacher and staff housing units districtwide to 61. That number includes the 20 units planned for development on the district’s Third Street property in Carbondale, six units at Ironbridge and 12 units at the as-yet-undeveloped Cardiff Mesa project in Glenwood Springs.

“That exceeds what we committed to our voters,” board member Matt Hamilton said, calling it a “momentous occasion.”

“This will have a significant impact, and is a positive development for this district and our goal of recruiting and retaining teachers,” he said.

The teacher housing program is part of the district’s larger $122 million bond issue that was approved by voters two years ago and which is paying for a range of facilities including the brand new Riverview School south of Glenwood and the new addition and renovation at Glenwood Springs Elementary.

As part of the bond package, $15 million was designated to purchase or build housing for qualified teachers and staff, with $5 million each set aside for Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt.

The one-, two- and three-bedroom Willits units will come at a cost of just over $6.6 million. The extra $1.6 million will come from investment proceeds and contingencies that were built into the bond funds, Shannon Pelland, chief financial officer for the school district, said.

Revenues from rents that will be charged to district employees for the housing units will also be put back into the program for acquisition of additional units, she explained.

In May, the district opened the lottery process for teachers and other qualified staff to apply for the first round of rental units at Willits and Ironbridge that are expected to be available before the start of the new school year.

Under the school district’s housing rules, rents are based on the median income for district employees, which currently stands at $50,275 for teachers and $29,841 for classified support staff. Monthly rents are to be capped at 26 to 30 percent of household income, which can be either a single teacher or a teacher and another adult wage earner, such as a spouse or a roommate.

Carbondale is so far the only community where district-owned property is being used to develop housing. There, the school board agreed earlier this year to build out the 20-unit project using a combination of bond proceeds and money left over from the sale of district property for what’s now the Carbondale Branch Library.

The Cardiff Mesa deal involves 12 one-, two- and three-bedroom condominium units in three buildings that are included as part of a larger five-building project near the corner of Four Mile and Airport roads, across from Cardiff Glen. Utility work for that development is expected to begin soon.

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