The Williston State College (WSC) Foundation today celebrated the successful completion of the first phase of the WSC Foundation Apartments, a 74-unit complex that houses essential service workers including WSC, state, city and school district employees, and Bethel Lutheran staff.
"I applaud the vision of the foundation staff and board in developing this unique project to provide housing for essential service employees and to ensure a steady workforce for the region," said Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who attended today's open house. "They stepped outside the box to bring additional affordable housing opportunities to the region and to ensure that the critical needs of this growing community were covered."
To ensure that apartment rents would be affordable for low- to moderate-income households, the $11.2 million project received a $1 million allocation from the North Dakota Housing Incentive Fund (HIF) and an interest rate buy-down through the Bank of North Dakota's FlexPACE program. HIF contributions from Gate City Bank and U.S. Bank supported the state's funding commitment. HIF is administered by the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA). The North Dakota Industrial Commission, consisting of Dalrymple as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees the agency.
"Providing adequate housing for our workforce is one of North Dakota's greatest challenges," said Jolene Kline, NDHFA acting executive director. "With the demand for development resources growing, more local, state and private dollars - like the HIF contributions made by Gate City Bank and U.S. Bank - are needed to address North Dakota's affordable housing needs."
WSC will break ground on the second phase of the housing development as soon as the building permits are approved. Phase II will provide 74 additional apartments with 43 of those units reserved for essential service workers.
In August, NDHFA made a conditional commitment of $3 million in HIF funding to phase II. That funding commitment will need to be capitalized by contributions from state taxpayers. Contributors receive a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit for contributions. Contributions can be targeted to a specific project or community. More information on HIF is available online at www.ndhousingincentivefund.org.
"We are grateful for the support the project received from the State and community; the support has allowed us to lower rent for all units which has been a game changer when hiring at WSC," said Terry Olson, WSC Foundation director.
The WSC Foundation is a nonprofit agency that partners with the college in building relationships with alumni, donors, and surrounding communities; generating financial support; funding student and faculty development scholarships; and leading capital expansion to develop a thriving, state-of-the-art campus.
NDHFA is a self-supporting state agency that finances the creation and rehabilitation of affordable housing across North Dakota.