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RE1J school district funds potential CB staff housing

Units to be available in 2018

By Aimee Eaton

The Gunnison Watershed School District has earmarked $334,000 for two employee housing units in Crested Butte. Conversations surrounding the project have been going on for months, but it wasn’t clear until the May 22 school board meeting that the district would indeed move forward.

According to district business manager Stephanie Juneau, the district had tentatively earmarked $300,000 in next year’s budget for housing, but a windfall of $334,405 from the state legislature could now be used to move construction forward.

“The units would be available in fall 2018,” said Juneau.

The town of Crested Butte will donate the lot for the building, which is planned as a duplex. Town planner Michael Yerman said it’s a little early to talk about the project, but the tentative plan is for the town to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) on the building then to work with the school district to make a plan for its design and construction.

“We’re incredibly excited about this project,” said school district superintendent Doug Tredway. “Trying to live in Crested Butte is a very difficult thing. Over the last few years it’s become very apparent that we will come to a point in time when our school employees will not be able to afford to live in Crested Butte.”

There is an assumption that as home prices in Crested Butte continue to increase, Gunnison and other communities down-valley could become bedroom communities supporting the resort town. Teachers and other school employees would have to commute up to work and have little tie to Crested Butte.

“Community is even in the name of the Crested Butte Community School,” said Tredway. “Our teachers need to be part of that community, and need to have the opportunity to live in Crested Butte.”

Because the project is in its earliest stages, many details still need to be worked out, including which district employees would be selected to live in the school housing. Yet district administrators want everyone to know that this is their chance to get a “player in the game” and get started with employee housing.

“This is our chance to ensure that we do have teachers or staff who can live in this community and don’t have to live elsewhere because they don’t have houses,” said Tredway.

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