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St. Luke’s, ARCH Cut Ribbon on Four Homes for Hospital Workers
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These are two of the long-term rentals that St. Luke’s Wood River is building for its employees in Quigley Farm.
   
Sunday, September 18, 2022
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

The four homes sitting on Quigley Farm Drive are mere shells right now with nothing inside but bathtubs covered in plastic.

But that didn’t stop St. Luke’s hospital representatives from cutting the ribbon for them this week.

“This has been a long time coming,” noted Almita Nunnelee, chief operating officer and chief nursing officer at St. Luke’s Wood River, as she looked around at the homes that members of her Wood River care team will soon be calling home. “The housing situation is challenging for so many organizations in the valley. I know so many of our worker struggle with housing, yet they continue to want to be part of the community.”

 
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ARCH Board President Cynthia Hull is flanked by St. Luke’s board member Susan Parslow and Foundation President Megan Edwards as they cut the ribbon.
 

St. Luke’s Healthy System, St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation and ARCH Community Housing Trust broke ground on the four long-term rental homes in Quigley Farm in September 2021. They followed that up this year with groundbreakings for eight more units in Hailey’s Woodside neighborhood and Bellevue.

St. Luke’s hopes the residents selected for the Quigley Farm homes can move in this October.

St. Luke’s and its philanthropic foundation are providing funding for construction; ARCH contributed the land and is overseeing the construction.

Thirty-five health care workers among the hospitals 450-plus employees applied for the homes. The first four included two employees from St. Luke’s Wood River hospital and two from the Hailey clinic.

 
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Michelle Griffith describes how builders have let absolutely no corner go to waste as Wendy Jaquet and Norma Douglas look on.
 

Priority was given to those who provided critical services the hospital couldn’t afford to lose.

“We’re not saying one role is more important than another, but we don’t want to lose critical services. We’re trying to be as fair as we can,” said Nunnelee. “I’m so excited to get some of those who are struggling with rising rents a place to live.”

Typically, it’s the price of the house that determines who lives there, noted Michelle Griffith, the executive director of ARCH. But in this case a higher-paid single parent with children might ended up being selected over a lower-paid staff member whose spouse contributes to the family income.

“I’ve received calls from hospitals in communities as far away as New Hampshire asking how we’re able to do this project,” she added.

 
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The two homes are expected to be ready for occupancy by October.
 

The event attracted a number of people, including St. Luke’s Wood River board members; mayors of Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey, and Wendy Jaquet, who will lead volunteers from St. Thomas Episcopal Church in landscaping the yards this fall.

The homes being built by Bradley Construction vary in size with the biggest being nearly 1,400 square feet. The two-story sports three bedrooms and 2.5 baths and a two-car garage. A smaller one-story home next door features an open floor plan boasting a kitchen, dining room and living room, as well as a master bedroom with its own bathroom and two smaller bedrooms that share a bathroom.

Megan Tanous, executive director of St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation, said that each and every day she sees people in the community who have received “incredible care” and want to give back. Their donations put the hospital in the position of doing projects like this, she added.

“I’m just amazed this came together in less than a year,” she said. “We’re so fortunate the different boards could come together so quickly.”

 
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Susan Parslow checks out one of the garages.
 

The hospital hosted five trailers supporting traveling nurses this summer in its hospital parking lot. That’s one more than they had hookups for. Each established little pods outside their trailers with barbecues and lawn chairs and Nunnelee said it felt like she was passing through a little neighborhood each day as she made her way to and from work.

Some traveling nurses enjoy going from one hospital to the next as a chance to visit different communities. But there are others who love the community and the work culture and would love to stay here year-round if some place could be found for them to stay during winter, she said.

“I’m happy to say we have a bunch of new nurses coming on,” she said.

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