Eagle County Schools plans 120 workforce housing units

District’s housing master plan takes a 10-year view

As part of its 10-year housing master plan, the school district will partner with local organizations, agencies, developers and banks. Habitat for Humanity and Eagle County Schools created the first-of-its-kind partnership to build homes for Habitat clients and school district employees. That's Allison Corbett on the saw and Habitat for Humanity volunteer coordinator Nick Mejia.
Randy Wyrick |

GYPSUM — The school district plans to build 120 units of workforce housing over the next decade.

The Eagle County Schools Employee Housing Master Plan is based on two things: the land the school district owns and what district employees said they needed. Those 120 units would house about 13% of the district’s employees. Other employees can get housing assistance through other programs.

What’s in the plan

In answering the school district’s housing survey, employees mentioned diversity and sustainability but hammered on affordability.

For renters, that means rates below $1,500 per month, considered affordable for a two-person household earning $60,00 a year — 80% of area median income.

Homes for sale would range up to $412,000, affordable for a two-person household earning $105,000, or 140% of area median income. Homes sold through the program would be deed-restricted, “so that housing assets will continue to serve the community for the long term,” the school district said in a release.

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Subsidies for buyers and renters are part of the plan, along with partnering with some of the valley’s other large employers, housing authorities and agencies, as well as private sector partners such as banks and developers.

For example, Habitat for Humanity and the school district struck a first-in-the-nation deal to develop 12 townhomes on land the school district owns in Gypsum, between Red Hill Elementary School and Gypsum Creek Middle School.

Some homes could be sold at market prices to underwrite housing for district employees, the plan says.

Other possible programs include: rental deposit assistance, down payment assistance for buyers as a supplement to the county’s Valley Home Store program, and working with local banks for better mortgage terms for school district employees.

It started with Maloit Park

The district’s housing master plan came about when the school board tapped the brakes on a proposal to build workforce housing on land it owns in Minturn’s Maloit Park.

Instead of pushing ahead with that, the board decided to take a wider and longer view. This plan is designed to withstand the ups and downs of a resort market, the school district said.

“For many years, district employees have identified housing as one of the biggest challenges to living and working in Eagle County,” the school district said in unveiling its master plan.

The school district owns land up and down the valley including Pooh Corner Preschool in Minturn and property in Gypsum. Many of those parcels are relatively close to schools and would be priorities, the plan says.

The ambitious program tabs five district-owned parcels for workforce housing development in the next five years:

  • Battle Mountain High School area in Edwards
  • Third Street in Eagle
  • Charter School Road in Edwards
  • Maloit Park in Minturn
  • IK Bar in Gypsum

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