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Affordable housing for teachers under development in Gardiner in hopes of attracting more educators

"If you look at local house prices, you’re going to find that they start at about eight or nine hundred thousand, which is just not reasonable for a teacher."
Posted at 4:59 PM, May 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 18:33:59-04

GARDINER — As a rural tourist town, Gardiner has struggled to find the housing it needs for its teachers. But new housing updates may bring the teacher workforce the security they need.

"If you look at local house prices, you’re going to find that they start at about eight or nine hundred thousand, which is just not reasonable for a teacher," says Laura Chastain, director of the North Yellowstone Education Foundation (NYEF).

Working to provide affordable housing for teachers is one way the group supports the school.

"We’re land-locked. We have Yellowstone National Park on one side, and then we have the National Forest on the other side and the amount of available property to build on becomes very limited. And because we’re more remote, the cost of building here is really expensive as well," says Chastain.

However, in addition to a new manufactured home for Gardiner’s incoming principal, they’ve improved existing housing, furnishing the shared apartments with a full kitchen and laundry room.

Chastain says, "We really feel as a community that we want our teachers to live in a safe place and we want them to feel loved and welcome in our community."

But Gardiner expects more teachers to retire soon, which means the school will need to provide housing for new teachers coming in.

Laura says they’ve broken ground on new condos to support this transition: "We estimate it’s going to be at least a $2 million project. And currently I have about $600,000 raised."

In addition to efforts by NYEF, Yellowstone National Park was recently awarded $40 million for housing, and HRDC is planning to develop 30 units up Jardine Road, bringing the promise of more families and the housing to support them.

"It’s a lot of moving pieces but it’s super exciting to see the collaboration in the area for our students," Chastain says.

For more information on the projects and how you can help, visit the NYEF website.