Steamboat schools interested in partnership to develop property adjacent to Brown Ranch

The Brown Ranch is a 536-acre property to the west of Steamboat Springs purchased by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority with an anonymous donation of $24 million.
Yampa Valley Housing Authority/Screenshot

If 536 acres weren’t enough, the Steamboat Springs Board of Education signaled Monday, Feb. 7, it is interested in working with the Yampa Valley Housing Authority to plan out a 22-acre parcel the district owns that is adjacent to Brown Ranch.

Preliminary discussions suggest that a possibility to include district-owned employee housing could develop from the talks. Space for a future school on the yet-undeveloped parcel is also on the district’s radar.

Superintendent Brad Meeks said he has discussed the parcel with Housing Authority Executive Director Jason Peasley in the past, but Monday was the first time those discussions rose to the board level.

“It sounds like the board may be interested in that,” Meeks said. “My second part of that is that I would make the assumption that within that 500 acres somewhere there would be land set aside for a future school.”

The discussion followed a presentation from Brown Ranch Steering Committee member Sarah Jones about the progress that has been made to develop the property. Brown Ranch makes up the lion’s share of land between the city limits of Steamboat Springs and the district’s newly opened Sleeping Giant School west of town.

The Brown Ranch, labeled as 937021003 on this property records map, is adjacent to several properties the Steamboat Springs School District owns, like land off of Routt County Road 42, labeled as 316000001.
Routt County Assessor’s Office/Screenshot

The district owns several parcels near its new school, with this one being just east of Routt County Road 42 and just south of the Brown Ranch. Board members have often mused about using land the district already owns to build workforce housing, but discussions have never progressed much further.

No decision was made on Monday, but no one spoke up when Board President Katy Lee asked if any board member was opposed to exploring what a partnership to develop the land may look like.

Board member Lara Craig said she hoped there could be a larger partnership with the housing authority, potentially including district-owned homes in Brown Ranch that could be rented to teachers when they first come to town. Craig said the idea is similar to a program in Aspen that allows teachers to rent district-owned units for up to five years.

“Can we find a way to trade assets we have in order to have ownership of particular housing?” Craig asked.

The issue of school employee housing availability remains a matter of concern for the board.

“I do think as the school board specifically we need to be really intentional about building now to sustain future educators,” said board member Kelly Latterman in response.

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