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Schweitzer unveils plans to build affordable housing units for employees

Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2023.

SANDPOINT, Idaho — Schweitzer Ski Resort announced plans to build an 84-unit apartment complex in Ponderay for its employees since current housing costs in nearby communities are no longer affordable.

Resort Human Resources Director Scot Auld said it's become increasingly difficult for staff to find housing nearby or keep up with skyrocketing costs.

“Especially during the last couple of years, the explosive growth that we've seen in our region has really brought that to the forefront," Auld said. "We're feeling it more than ever and our employees are feeling it more than ever.”

Auld worries if Schweitzer employees can no longer afford to live in the area, it will become a challenge to maintain staffing levels. But he doesn’t have to wait and see; the problem is already knocking on their door.

“We had one manager, a year ago, who had to leave the community because their landlord increased their lease to the point it was almost doubled and they couldn't afford to live here anymore," Auld said.

By building an employee apartment complex with affordable rates, Schweitzer hopes this will prevent losing any more staff.

"It's definitely a problem for a lot of our current staff and we have people who want to come work for us that can't because they can't find affordable housing,” Auld said.

The now-empty lot in Ponderay is located near the intersection of Schweitzer Plaza Drive and Triangle Drive. Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2023.

In the first phase of the project, the complex will consist of three buildings with three floors. Each building will be pet-friendly with one, two and three-bedroom units available to individuals and families.

After these units are built, future plans include additional housing units, outdoor play areas and a full-service daycare facility aimed at serving Schweitzer employees.

Auld said staff will also enjoy the benefit of living within walking distance of shopping, dining and transportation services—including the public shuttle to Schweitzer.

“This is something that we see as a major investment in our community, our employees, and in our future," Auld said. "We really must find a way to make it affordable for people to live and work in this great community that we already love. And housing is a key part of that.”

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