School district to build out Carbondale housing project |

School district to build out Carbondale housing project

A rendering of the planned Roaring Fork School District employee housing project on Third Street in Carbondale, to be located south of the Carbondale Branch Library and the district's Bridges Center.
Provided |

The Roaring Fork School District may go outside bond issue funds to build out its newly approved 20-unit employee housing project on Third Street in Carbondale.

In addition, the school district board last week finalized a deal to purchase 12 units at the as-yet-unbuilt Cardiff Mesa development in Glenwood Springs for $3.4 million, with an option to buy additional units.

The latest moves come as the district also opened its housing lottery process for teachers and other qualified staff to apply for rental units that will come available as soon as this August.

As part of the $122 million bond issue that was approved by district voters two years ago, $15 million was designated to purchase or build housing for teachers, with $5 million each set aside for Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt.

First up will be 17 one-, two- and three-bedroom units that were purchased at the Willits development in Basalt, and another six two- and three-bedroom units at the Ironbridge subdivision south of Glenwood Springs.

Carbondale is so far the only community where district-owned property is being used by the district to build its own housing units.

Using the $5 million in bond issue money designated for Carbondale, the district had enough to build 16 of the 20 units that were recently granted approval by the Carbondale Board of Trustees. To build the additional four units, the school board agreed to consider using other district funds, if it comes to that.

The district still has $734,379 in the bank from the previous sale of district property at the corner of Third Street and Sopris Avenue for what became the new Carbondale Branch Library.

Those funds were originally intended as “seed money” for what was originally envisioned as a larger planned unit development on the adjacent Bridges Center property, according to Shannon Pelland, assistant superintendent and chief financial officer for the school district.

When that plan fell through, the money was set aside for future use whenever a new plan came about, she said.

About $900,000 extra is needed to build out the Carbondale project, which she said can be accomplished using the library land sale proceeds and other capital funds outside of the bond-specific funds.

“We can build these four units without having to go into general fund reserves,” Pelland advised the school board at its May 10 meeting. “In the end, we may not need to pull from the [capital] funds, but we have it if we need it.”

Meanwhile, 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 section of the Silver Sage development just south of the corner of Four Mile and Airport roads, across from Cardiff Glen.

An agreement with Glenwood Springs City Council last year allowed those units to count as developer Peter Waller’s affordable housing requirement, which came with the original approvals for the larger 55-unit Silver Sage project several years ago.

The district’s housing lottery is now open to any full-time staff member interested in applying for a rental unit, according to a district news release explaining the housing selection process.

Teachers and other qualified staff will have until May 26 to complete the online housing application. A lottery process based on a weighting system will be used to place individuals in the available units.

The larger $122 million bond issue, which also is going to pay for the new Riverview School and the Glenwood Springs Elementary School addition and remodel, provided for a minimum of 15 staff rental units in each of the district’s three communities.

Guidelines for the district housing program were recommended by a 12-member committee and approved by the school board in April.

“The guidelines committee worked really hard to develop a process that is equitable, helps the most staff members, and treats staff members with respect,” Kendall Reiley, a third grade teacher at Basalt Elementary School and housing committee member, said in the news release.

Under the school district’s housing rules, rents are based on the median income for district employees, which is $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. That can be either a single teacher or a teacher and another adult wage earner, such as a spouse or a roommate.

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