BCS Advantage Magazine Winter 2017 - Page 18

The Williams-Baldwin Teacher Campus A Home for Educators By Benjamin Rickert, Communications Department “Preparing students for their tomorrow” is deeply woven into the fabric of everything we do in Buncombe County Schools. This is why continuing to recruit and retain the highest quality teachers is a key consideration year after year. Living in beautiful Western North Carolina certainly has its perks- with its lush valleys, hidden waterfalls, and rich culture. The quality of life is undeniable, and as our region flourishes, regularly adding new neighbors to our communities in the greater Asheville area and surrounding Buncombe County, the reality is that for some it can be a challenge to find an affordable, long-term place to call home. The Williams-Baldwin Teacher Campus aims to give some relief to those who teach our children. The unique project is a partnership between BCS, Asheville City Schools, Eblen Charities’ Center for Social Enterprise, Buncombe County, and the State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation (SECUF). The campus is named for the legendary UNC basketball coach and former Charles D. Owen High coach Roy Williams and his wife Wanda, along with two former local teachers, Roy Eugene “Buddy” Baldwin and Rosa Lee Case Baldwin. The 24-unit complex is located on Erwin Hills Road near Eblen Intermediate school and will offer 18 units for County teachers and 6 units for City teachers. The starting cost for a 1,100 square foot, 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom unit will be $915/month, and this becomes even more manageable for teachers with a roommate or working partner. For comparison, the median two bedroom rental cost in the Asheville area was $1,180/month in 2016- a 7.6% increase over 2015- and in January, Asheville overtook Charlotte as the costliest city for rent in North Carolina. The construction of the two, three-story buildings will cost about $2.5 million. To keep additional costs low, SECUF is providing a loan without interest, and Eblen will pay only $1 per year to Buncombe County to lease the property. When the loan is paid off, the apartments will help fund Eblen programs that benefit local schools, teachers, and students in need. When completed in the Spring of 2017, the Williams-Baldwin Teacher Campus will provide an innovative and practical means of attracting and retaining the most talented educators to Buncombe County. For more information, BCS teachers may contact Cynthia Lopez at 828-232-4233. 16