Applications to live at the remodeled school complex will be taken starting next week

 - Applications for housing at Ochoco School Crossing will be accepted started Monday, Aug. 13. Crook County Parks and Recreation District will be building a park at the former elementary school site that has been revamped into a housing project.

Housing Works is nearing the finish line on construction of its Ochoco School Crossing project.

"We are targeting the end of September or early October for completion," said Keith Wooden, the housing authority's real estate director. "Things are happening fast."

Outside the building, the asphalt that used to provide parking at the old elementary school has been torn out. Around the beginning of September, workers will repave parking lots at the north and south sides of the complex, and the horseshoe area between the two wings of the school will be turned into a grass-filled courtyard area.

Wooden went on to say that exterior painting is planned in the near future, and the local parks and recreation district is going to build a park at the southeast corner of the property. On the northeast portion of the property, Heart of Oregon will convert an extra construction modular into its new YouthBuild office, and NeighborImpact will use the remaining space for a food bank growing area.

"It still looks rough right now," he said about the exterior, but added that it will start to look pretty awesome once the painting and other exterior improvements take shape.

The interior, by contrast, is looking much more polished. Wooden points out that most of the units now have flooring, cabinets, lighting and plumbing.

"They are doing doors and trim and appliances right now and other touch-up stuff," Wooden added. "They are leaving the common corridor hallway for last because that is where they are staging everything."

Once completed, the housing project will offer a mix of 29 apartment configurations, including studios, one, two and three bedrooms. The apartment community will provide residents a variety of services and activities through a number of partner agencies. In addition to NeighborImpact and Crook County Parks and Recreation, other service providers include Ochoco Innovation Station, Early Learning Hub of Central Oregon, Saving Grace, Veterans Affairs, and Oregon Department of Human Services.

Housing Works purchased the property in April 2017 from the Crook County School District for $600,000. The organization then broke ground on the $8.3 million project on Aug. 15 with Bend-based R&H Construction as the general contractor.

Funding for the development comes from federal tax credits through Oregon Housing and Community Services and HOME funds through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This past September, NeighborImpact opened two Head Start classrooms in the refurbished detached cafeteria on the campus. After that project was completed, crews moved on to the school building.

Starting next week, Housing Works will start accepting applications for the new apartments. The housing authority and EPIC Property Management, LLC will begin taking applications Monday, Aug. 13 and will accept them through Thursday, Aug. 16. As an affordable property, income restrictions will apply, and rents will be well below market rates.

EPIC will be accepting applications for four days only and will select qualified tenants through a lottery. Housing Works said the wait list lottery will ensure that all applicants are given an equal opportunity to obtain an affordable apartment. Pets will be permitted with a pet deposit.

Applications will be accepted between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., and they must be hand-delivered to the office of Prairie House, 115 NW Deer St., in Prineville. The time a person applies during the open period does not affect their position on the wait list.

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