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For more information contact:
Rhonda Rosenberg, Director of Communications
King County Housing Authority
(206) 574-1185

King County Housing Authority Starts $2.1M Stimulus Project

Funds will upgrade public housing complex, boost local economy

March 29, 2010

Work began today on $2.1 million in improvements to Valli Kee, a 114-unit family public housing complex in Kent.  Work is being funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), intended to provide jobs across America.

The project will replace exterior vinyl siding, roofs, and windows at Valli Kee, which was constructed in 1968. Current building envelopes have reached the end of their useful life span, are tremendously energy inefficient, and encourage moisture and mold issues.

“This initiative will not only provide good paying jobs for the community, it will also enhance the quality, longevity, energy efficiency, and safety of this public asset, and convert several existing apartment units into homes that are fully accessible to persons with disabilities,” said King County Housing Authority Executive Director Stephen Norman.

Nationwide, the Obama administration dedicated $4 billion to housing authorities to preserve and improve the country’s public housing stock.

This project encompasses building envelope upgrades on each of the 31 single-story buildings, including the replacement of roofs, the installation of new exterior siding, new doors, and energy-efficient fluorescent exterior lights with daylight sensors. The installation of new energy-efficient windows will complete the improvements to the building envelopes. Energy costs will be reduced by an estimated 13 percent for cash-strapped residents when the work is finished.

Enhancements to apartment entrances, extensive attic work including an upgrade of the insulation level to R-49, and the addition of seven trash/recycling enclosures round out the renovation. Four conventional units will be converted into units that fully comply with Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards with modifications to bathrooms, kitchens, and living areas.

In addition to preserving an important affordable housing resource, the new exterior façade will look more attractive and contemporary, with textured surfaces replacing the current monochromatic, utilitarian vinyl siding. Additional Valli Kee improvements will combine aesthetic components with practical ones, including removing the trash closets located by front doors and replacing them with entry alcoves at all but the senior and town house units. Gables will be constructed above one-third of the entries to create a more varied and appealing “village” appearance. The six town house units will get a new roofing system along with a new look — pitched roofs will replace the existing flat roofs.

This rehabilitation project will help offset declining private investment in our region. A recent study by the Econsult Corporation measured the economic impact of public housing. It showed that every dollar in construction in public housing generates $2.12 in economic return through job creation, spending by vendors and suppliers, purchases of goods and services and increased consumer demand. As the unemployment rate in the Puget Sound region hovers around 9 percent, these well-paying jobs will help reinvigorate the local economy.

Mike Ducey, president of W.G. Clark Construction Co., the general contractor for the building envelope project, agrees. “The impact on the construction industry during the recession has been much worse than other parts of the economy,” Ducey said.  “Since 2008, we’ve laid off half of our workforce. This project definitely keeps people employed who otherwise would not be working.”

Architectural services have been provided by ARC Architects. The electrical contractor is Rehabitat Northwest, Inc., and Exterior Finishes, LLC will install the new siding, windows, and doors. Scott Coatings, LLC is the painting contractor.  Hose bib plumbing and gas piping services will be performed by Auburn Mechanical. Masterwork Roofing, Inc. will install the new roofs. New gutters will be installed by Northstar Construction and Sheet Metal, Inc. Village Framers Corporation will frame the new alcoves and roof structure on the town homes. More than 70 workers from a variety of trades and occupations will be employed on the project. Work is expected to be completed by December 2010. SKHS Architects will design and RAFN Company will oversee the ADA unit conversions, which are set to begin in July.

KCHA administers a range of quality affordable rental and homeownership programs in the Puget Sound region. The Authority serves more than 17,000 households on a daily basis.

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