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Teacher housing effort continues

David Magistrelli of Habitat for Humanity of Gallatin Valley attended the Big Sky School District Board of Directors meeting on January 14, distributing map printouts to board members conveying the preliminary location of two tri-plex homes, which would ultimately create six units of teacher housing on school property.

While the tri-plex unit location could change, the early choice is along Beaver Creek Road above the tennis courts.

“We’re looking at breaking ground in the spring and wrapping up construction sometime in October – we think that’s feasible,” Magistrelli told the board, premising that sentiment with an understanding that delays could occur if the U.S. Department of Environmental Quality is involved in the water and sewer permitting.

The construction of employee housing has already been cleared by the BSSD with the Porcupine Park Home Owners Association bylaws, and a Memorandum of Understanding is currently underway between the district and Habitat. Still, the housing project is very much in the feasibility stage; there is still plenty of work and research to be done before ground can be broken on the units.

Magistrelli is working with ThinkOne Architecture and will be meeting later this month with Gallatin County Planning Department to determine the next steps. BSSD Superintendent Dustin Shipman is in talks with Allied Engineering to procure a scope of work proposal which will include geotech surveying and sewage permitting.

Shipman explained that Brian Tate, the owners’ representative for the Ophir Elementary School building, has also been brought into the mix to work as a liaison between the parties working to bring the housing project to fruition.

Tate will likely attend the February board meeting when more solid cost figures are in hand. For now, said Shipman, the big question of financing is still out there. “As things start to unfold more and more, we’ll have a much clearer picture of what that financing is going to look like, and we can have a richer conversation about where we’re going to go with that,” he said.

With solid cost information in hand, the board will then go to the community to gauge support. Shipman said he hasn’t heard much input yet, as the project is still in its early stages, but he was heartened to learn last month that an anonymous donation earmarked specifically to the BSSD teacher housing project was gifted to Habitat.

“I think we can all recognize housing is an issue in the community,” said Shipman, who said he feels confident in the public’s support of the school working with a familiar organization like Habitat for Humanity.

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