An old Snowmass building transformed into employee housing 

Snowmass Water and Sanitation District employees awaiting move-in to workforce housing units in decommissioned facility

Architect Scot Broughton (left) and Snowmass Water and Sanitation District Director Kit Hamby tour one of six new workforce housing units in a decommissioned wastewater treatment facility.
Lucy Peterson/The Aspen Times

Certificates of occupancy for six apartments built in a decommissioned wastewater treatment facility are days away from being issued to several Snowmass Water and Sanitation District employees.

Snowmass Water and Sanitation District Director Kit Hamby has envisioned the facility, which is right next to the district’s offices, as possible housing units since 2000. In 2018, he started conversations with the district board of directors about converting the facility into housing, and after meetings with the Snowmass Village Town Council in 2021, the district and a design team got to work.

“Luckily we have a board of directors that saw the value in just trying to repurpose this,” he said. “It was impossible to imagine what this was going to look like until Scot came up with a draft set of plans, and I think when the board of directors saw that draft set, they were bought into the project.”

He suggested designing around the existing building’s footprint instead of tearing the entire building down to save time and money. The project cost about $4.1 million and took about 16 months to complete. It would have taken an entire summer just to tear down the building, he said, and likely would have cost over $1 million.

Instead, project architect Scot Broughton embarked on one of the most unique employee housing projects he said he has ever worked on. There are three two-bedroom units, two one-bedroom units, and a studio that will be used as a bunkhouse for subcontractors who will stay in Snowmass for short projects with the district.

“I’ve done some employee housing units, but nothing ever really to sort of retrofit a given box,” he said. “We built into this thing … It was a challenge, but it was a lot of fun.”

Because he designed around the building’s existing footprint, each unit has a unique floorplan. A living room sits where a pump room used to be, and old ceiling trolleys were repurposed to be used for hanging plants.

The Snowmass Water and Sanitation District will welcome employees into its new workforce housing units that were built in a decommissioned wastewater treatment facility. Scot Broughton Architects repurposed the existing building footprint instead of knocking down the facility and starting from scratch.
Lucy Peterson/The Aspen Times

The building is adjacent to the district’s offices, and it sits along Brush Creek. Having some of the district’s 22 employees on site will help in emergency response situations. 

Converting the existing building into workforce housing also cut down on the waste that might have been produced if the building were torn down or re-imagined. 

The employees who will take over the new units were ready to move in even before conceptual plans were completed, Hamby said. And after nearly two years of construction, they will finally get to move in.


High Points: How about the 12th …?

The problem with this valley is there is just too much stuff to do. Sometimes it seems like we spend more time scheduling things to do than actually doing them. I guess it’s a good problem to have but occasionally it can be downright exhausting.

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