STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK
The four houses sitting on Quigley Farm Drive are for now just shells with nothing inside but plastic-covered bathtubs.
But that didn’t stop representatives from St. Luke’s Hospital from cutting the ribbon for them this week.
“It took a while to happen,” noted Almita Nunnelee, chief operating officer and head nurse at St. Luke’s Wood River, as she looked around at the homes that members of her care team of Wood River will soon be calling home. “The housing situation is difficult for so many organizations in the valley. I know many of our workers have difficulty finding housing, but they continue to want to be part of the community. »
ARCH Board Chair Cynthia Hull is joined by St. Luke Board Member Susan Parslow and Foundation President Megan Edwards as they cut the ribbon.
St. Luke’s Healthy System, St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation and ARCH Community Housing Trust opened Quigley Farm’s four long-term rental homes in September 2021. They continued this year with groundbreaking work for eight more units in the neighborhood of Hailey’s Woodside and Bellevue.
St. Luke’s hopes residents selected for Quigley Farm homes will be able to move in in October.
St. Luke’s and its philanthropic foundation are funding construction; ARCH provided the land and is supervising the construction.
Thirty-five healthcare workers from the more than 450 hospital workers applied for the houses. The first four included two employees from St. Luke’s Wood River Hospital and two from the Hailey Clinic.
Michelle Griffith describes how the builders didn’t let any corner go to waste as Wendy Jaquet and Norma Douglas looked on.
Priority was given to those providing essential services that the hospital could not afford to lose.
“We’re not saying one role is more important than another, but we don’t want to lose essential services. We try to be as fair as possible,” Nunnelee said. “I’m so excited to give some of those struggling with rising rents a place to live.”
Generally, the price of the house determines who lives there, noted Michelle Griffith, executive director of ARCH. But in this case, a higher-paid single parent with children might end up being selected over a lower-paid staff member whose spouse contributes to the family income.
“I have received calls from hospitals in communities as far away as New Hampshire asking how we can do this project,” she added.
Both houses should be ready for occupancy by October.
The event was attended by a number of people, including members of the St. Luke’s Wood River Board of Directors; the mayors of Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey, and Wendy Jaquet, who will lead volunteers from St. Thomas Episcopal Church in landscaping the yards this fall.
Homes built by Bradley Construction vary in size, with the largest measuring nearly 1,400 square feet. Both floors sport three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms and a two-car garage. A small one-story house next door features an open floor plan including a kitchen, dining room, and living room, as well as a master bedroom with its own bathroom and two smaller bedrooms that share a bathroom. bath.
Megan Tanous, executive director of St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation, said every day she sees people in the community who have received “incredible care” and want to give back. Their donations have put the hospital in a position to carry out projects like this, she added.
“I’m just amazed this has happened in less than a year,” she said. “We are so lucky that the various councils were able to come together so quickly.”
Susan Parslow visits one of the garages.
This summer, the hospital hosted five mobile nurse support trailers in the hospital parking lot. That’s one more than they had connections. Each set up small pods outside their trailers with barbecues and lawn chairs and Nunnelee said she felt like she walked through a small neighborhood each day as she drove to and from work. .
Some traveling nurses like to go from hospital to hospital to visit different communities. But there are others who love the community and work culture and would love to stay here year-round if a place could be found for them during the winter, she said.
“I’m happy to say we have a group of new nurses coming in,” she says.