Under construction

Teacher housing is under construction at Serramonte del Rey. Photo courtesy Jenson Ho / Terra Nova Times

On Feb 5, 2020, the Jefferson Union High School District broke ground on its faculty and staff housing project. Now, a little over a year later, it’s time to check in on the project and see what progress has been made thus far and what the future holds for this bold and important undertaking.

The project is a venture that the district has taken with the main goal of better retaining teachers and staff in our district. The high cost of living makes it difficult for many district staff to afford living in the area, which is why the district decided to build housing specifically designed for district employees.

According to the district website, 122 units are being built, with 59 of them being single bedroom, 56 being two-bedroom, and seven being three-bedroom units. All will be offered at a rental rate at approximately half the typical market rate, district officials said.

The construction is taking place at 699 Serramonte Blvd. in Daly City, on property that the district already owns, which is helping to keep the cost down. The district estimates the total cost to be about $61 million, a little over half of which will be financed through a general obligation bond approved with the passing of Measure J back in 2018.

Obviously, the world has changed quite a bit since last February, most notably due to the global pandemic that arose just over a month after the project began. However, the district has been able to stay on track with the project.

“I would say that we were very lucky with this project with regards to COVID,” said JUHSD Associate Superintendent of Business Services Tina Van Raaphorst. “We were only shut down for a few days at the beginning of the pandemic. We were able to keep the project running during the shelter-in-place due to the board’s quick action to declare the project as essential based on the fact that it is an affordable housing project, and it is affiliated with a school district.

“We provided all of the workers with letters affirming their affiliation with the project so they could get vaccines with other essential workers when supplies were still low and we have not had any outbreaks nor any need to quarantine in substantial numbers,” she said.

The project is still running on schedule, despite the pandemic. “We still hope to open by May 2022,” Van Raaphorst said.

Board President Rosie Tejada also gave an update on the status of the project. “The latest news is that the district approved the formation of a nonprofit Housing Board,” she said, “and we are in the process of filing the paperwork to establish the ‘JUHSD Educational Housing Corporation,’ which will oversee the management of employee housing.”

Tejada said Housing Board duties include resolving or facilitating tenant disputes, setting limits for tenancy, approving an annual budget and overseeing the property manager.

This development brings the whole project closer to completion, something that staff currently saddled with high rents are anxiously anticipating. 

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