School District 16 hoping for affordable housing in Parachute |

School District 16 hoping for affordable housing in Parachute

Pete Fowler

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Garfield County School District 16 is looking for some employee housing.

“It’s severely impacted by the oil and gas industry, even now, with the downturn,” said Bill Simpson, a consultant on housing development for the district.

He said the tough competition for housing with oil and gas workers is forcing school district employees to endure long commutes or live in housing that’s inadequate for their needs.

“This has made it difficult, if not impossible for the community to recruit and retain employees that serve the community,” the district said in a grant application, adding later, “Energy workers’ families are contributing to the increased number of children in the district and the range of services the district must provide, while simultaneously driving up the price of housing which is causing teachers to leave the system and reducing the overall quality of education in the district.”

Teacher turnover in the school district has seen “significant increase” from 18 percent to 39 percent during the past 10 years, the grant application says.

The school district hopes to build a 66-unit housing development in Parachute. Of those, 50 units would be rental units. The rest would be for sale for around $190,000, Simpson said.

The units would also be available for town employees and other public employees.

Superintendent Ken Haptonstall said, “We’re trying to recruit teachers to our area. It’s very difficult knowing that most of the rentals in the area are above what they make on a monthly basis.”

The district hopes to use funding from the Department of Local Affairs Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Program, a community development block grant, low income housing tax credits, and private debt.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

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