(Photo above: (L-R) Duane Garner, executive director of Crook County Parks & Recreation District; Scott Cooper, executive director of NeighborImpact; Laura Craska Cooper, vice chair of Housing Works’ Board of Commissioners; Laura Clifford, vice president and equity deal manager for Wells Fargo Affordable Housing CDC; Gary North, vice president of R&H Construction Central Oregon; Mayor Betty Roppe City of Prineville; Tom Kemper, executive director of Housing Works; Kelly Fisher, project development manager for Housing Works; Kim Travis, housing integrator for Oregon Housing and Community Services and Doug Alley, project manager/architect for Pinnacle Architecture | Photo Courtesy of Housing Works)
Housing Works gathered with development partners, sponsors, local government officials and community members to celebrate the beginning of the transformation of the former Ochoco Grade School into Ochoco School Crossing, an affordable apartment community for 29 low-income households. The property is located at the junction of Highways 26 and 126 in Prineville at 440 NW Madras Highway.
Many current residents of Prineville walked the halls and sat in the classrooms of this historic building during the 69 years that the school operated. In addition to much-needed affordable housing for individuals and families, Ochoco School Crossing will provide a space for a community recreation center in the former school gym to be run by Crook County Parks and Recreation and a Head Start facility in the former school cafeteria to be operated by NeighborImpact.
“This is a unique opportunity to preserve a property of considerable historic significance by converting it into much needed, high quality housing,” said Tom Kemper, Housing Works’ executive director. “The repurposing of this building will save a community asset to which many Prineville citizens are attached,” Kemper added.
With vacancy rates below one percent and the majority of renter households in Prineville burdened by housing costs, this apartment community will provide homes for 29 households with incomes at or below fifty percent of area median income (AMI). Ochoco School Crossing will create a community where individuals and families can thrive in a location that is close to many amenities in Prineville.Ochoco School Crossing will have rents well below market rates.
The design for Ochoco School Crossing will offer a mix of apartment configurations including studios, one, two and three bedrooms. The apartment community will offer residents a variety of services and activities through a number of partner agencies.
In addition to NeighborImpact and Crook County Parks and Recreation, other service providers include Ochoco Innovation Station, Early Learning Hub of Central Oregon, Saving Grace, Veterans Affairs (VA) and Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS).
Funding for the development is coming from federal tax credits through Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) and HOME funds through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The general contractor for the development is R&H Construction, who has built several of Housing Works’ affordable communities throughout Central Oregon. Pinnacle Architecture, experienced in this type of repurposing, is the architect for the new
Construction financing and equity is being provided by Wells Fargo Affordable Housing Community Development Corporation. Build time is expected to be 12 months. Preleasing for Ochoco School Crossing will take place approximately three months prior to completion through EPIC Property Management.
Housing Works is the largest affordable housing provider in Central Oregon. It provides people with quality, safe and affordable homes; and through a number of collaborations, it provides the resources to help people stabilize their lives. Housing Works developments in Bend, Redmond, Prineville, Madras and Sisters have won awards for innovation, economic impact, design and beautification.