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In a notoriously expensive and growing community, two new projects intend to bring some affordable housing to Big Sky.

The affordable housing projects were announced this week, with one providing housing for teachers and the other for seasonal workers at Big Sky Resort.

For the educator housing project, Habitat For Humanity Gallatin Valley is partnering with the Big Sky School District to build two triplexes on school district property.

At around 1,000 square feet, each unit will have two bedrooms and a garage, said David Magistrelli, Habitat For Humanity Gallatin Valley executive director. Each unit is meant for one teacher, though it could possibly house a couple, he said. Since teachers typically bring some work home, he said the second bedroom could function as office space.

Magistrelli said he didn’t know exactly how much the units would rent for and that the Big Sky school board will set an amount later. He’s guessing it will be no more than 30 percent of teachers’ monthly income, a percentage typically considered affordable for renters.

He anticipates a waiting list for the apartments. One triplex will be built this summer and the other will be built in 2020. The projected cost of the two buildings is about $900,000.

The school district will ask voters to approve a $600,000 levy to support the project, with voting beginning on May 7. The district will hold four public meetings to discuss the levy and answer questions.

Habitat for Humanity will apply for the remaining funds through the Big Sky Resort Tax Board.

Magistrelli said he has heard a lot of support from the community, encouraging Habitat for Humanity that the project will move forward.

Because Habitat for Humanity uses volunteers, is a nonprofit and can use materials without a markup, they’re able to build projects at a lower cost, he said.

“This is really a unique thing,” he said, with the Gallatin Valley Habitat affiliate being the first in Montana to work with a school district to construct teacher housing.

Meanwhile, Big Sky Resort announced plans Tuesday to build housing for 75 seasonal workers by next ski season, Big Sky spokesperson Stacie Mesuda said. Construction is slated to begin this spring.

Each dormitory-style room will house two people, with some room for variation, she said. Rental rates are heavily subsidized, she said, at $12 per person per night, including utilities.

The development would bring the total of seasonal worker beds located at the resort to 500, with 150 added in the past three years. Big Sky plans to add more than 275 new beds in the coming years, Mesuda said.

The new housing will offer residents pedestrian access to the resort and is meant to ease the burden on transportation and infrastructure, according to a news release sent out by Big Sky. Every worker in seasonal housing frees up another bed in the community, Mesuda said.

“Seasonal employee housing is a community issue – not just a Big Sky Resort issue,” she said. “The resort is certainly part of the solution, but we aren’t the only solution.”

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Abby Lynes can be reached at or 406-582-2651. Follow her on Twitter @Abby_Lynes.

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