By cvlopez | firstname.lastname@example.org
DAWN Melgares and the San Luis Valley Housing Coalition are embarking on one of the biggest redevelopment projects on Alamosa’s historic south side.
The executive director of the San Luis Valley Housing Coalition has positioned the organization to take ownership of Boyd School, which served thousands of schoolchildren growing up on the south side through the generations, and will transform it and the accompanying acreage into a multi-unit development that will help Alamosa address its acute housing shortage.
The SLV Housing Coalition, an affordable housing non-profit established 1993, was approved for acquisition funding last week through the state division of housing and is under contract to take ownership. Melgares figures it’s another year to year-and-a-half before there’s a groundbreaking as she works to layer in funding sources for pre-development and development costs.
Ultimately the SLV Housing Coalition wants to add about 40 new housing units to the southside through the Boyd School redevelopment, and it will keep an early-childhood center in place on the main floor.
LEFT: A sign at the school showing its history. RIGHT: Sixth-grade students at Boyd in a 1941 WPA photo from Denver Public Library Special Collections.
“TO be able to go in and preserve the education side and bring the much-needed housing and still keep the historic value and beauty of that building is something that we’re really excited to do,” Melgares said during an interview on Alamosa Citizen’s podcast The Valley Pod. The podcast episode will air this week.
“We’re not going to change the outside of the building. We want it to still look like the Boyd School that we all remember, and then take those classrooms and make them into something that can be used again in our community,” she said.
The plan is to transform the school building itself into 10 to 14 housing units on the second floor and a few on the first floor in conjunction with space for early-childhood education, and then construct another 20 to 29 units, depending on design and parking, on the other 1.9 buildable acres on the west side of the school building, shown below. The community gardens, positioned on the property at State Avenue, also will remain.
THE project is part of the SLV Housing Coalition’s ongoing work tackling housing needs in Alamosa and across the San Luis Valley. A year ago, March 2021, the housing coalition released a highly-detailed SLV Housing Needs Assessment that showed Alamosa short nearly 500 units, from single family to apartment dwellings, and the Valley short by over 1,800 housing units as a whole.
“Every community is short on housing. It doesn’t matter what size they are or where they’re located,” said Melgares.
With the housing needs assessment in her back pocket, Melgares has been criss-crossing the San Luis Valley, from Center to Creede, working to identify projects, partners, and funding to help towns add to their housing mix.
The SLV Housing Coalition, she said, has identified an apartment complex in Creede to purchase that will preserve affordable housing and bring in as many as 18 additional units. “This is a community that is really struggling with housing affordability for their workforce,” she said.
In Alamosa, The Iron Horse, the first affordable housing development project in 20 years in Alamosa, is accepting applications for its 41 multi-family units. “It’s a beautiful place,” Melgares said of The Iron Horse, located on Maroon Drive. “Anybody who gets in there is going to absolutely love it.”
Now comes the Boyd School project, which is the biggest of the SLV Housing Coalition’s current projects and will be the most impactful to Alamosa’s south side.
“To be able to preserve the beautiful building that Boyd School is, it’s absolutely stunning with that red brick that came from this area,” said Melgares. “It’s got such a rich history that we’re wanting to preserve.”
Boyd School – a preservation and transformation that will happen over the next few years.
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