Big Sky, Habitat for Humanity break ground on affordable housing for teachers

Posted at 2:06 PM, Jul 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-14 16:06:19-04

BIG SKY — Crews from Habitat for Humanity and the Big Sky community broke ground on teacher and staff housing Friday morning.

Habitat and Big Sky have been collaborating on a project that might help retain staff and teachers. Getting teachers to stay in Big Sky would be huge, given current circumstances.

“We’re the fastest growing school district per capita in the state of Montana. In 12 years we’ve doubled in size,” said Dr. Dustin Shipman, superintendent for the Big Sky School District.

The project is simple: give teachers an affordable option of living in a city where rent costs are rising.

“So there’s going to be two triplexes each containing three bedroom units; some will be designated as single occupancy, some double occupancy,” Shipman said.

This will give eight to 10 teachers an affordable option for living in Big Sky that would cost them no more than a third of their income. This is not easy to do for Habitat for Humanity.

“We have a lot of support from the community, the businesses, LI engineering, one architectural firm, Hussey plumbing. There’s a company that does painting that said they’ll do the interior painting for free, Big Sky Installation, Kenyon Noble — all these organizations helped us out,” said David Magistrelli, executive director of Gallatin Valley Habitat for Humanity.

With 35 certified staff members in the district, Shipman hopes for similar opportunities down the road.

“We started this dialogue with habitat in late October and here we are […] breaking ground — that’s fast, so we’re thrilled about that,” he said. “We want to get this one done and explore our options down the road for teacher housing.”

Habitat for Humanity also has another affordable housing project they’re working on in Ennis.

-Reported by Carson Vickroy/MTN News