Dollywood officials have just announced yet another expansion to Dolly Parton’s Pigeon Forge empire.
As many are aware, area staffing shortages plague Sevier County.
And the problem has only worsened in recent months as area attractions and restaurants struggle to find and retain employees.
“Help wanted” signs have become a common sight throughout the county.
This is due, in large part, to a lack of affordable housing in the area.
But Dollywood’s latest project aims to help solve that problem with a $20 million expansion in the form of affordable housing.
Dolly, it would seem, is here to save the day once again.
The residence hall-style 136,000 square foot, four-story building will be able to accommodate more than 750 seasonal area employees.
The building will be located on Dollywood grounds.
Dollywood’s partnership with Holtz Builders
“We partnered with Holtz Builders because they have proven successful at helping similar destinations create housing options to support the needs of their growing communities,” said Tim Berry, Dollywood Vice President of Human Resources.
“The Smoky Mountains region has proven to be one of the most popular vacation destinations in the country. And with the growth of businesses and attractions in the area, we need more employees ready to support all of those jobs. Employee housing is a crucial piece of the employment equation in this area.”
Holtz Builders is a Wisconsin-based company. They have earned a reputation for creating similar structures in resort towns throughout the nation.
Holtz will construct, maintain and manage the new property. Dollywood provided the land.
“We strive to provide safe and affordable housing for seasonal guests that come from around the world and from the U.S.,” said Dan Bullock, President of the Holtz Companies.
“We hope we can have a positive impact on the overall experience they have here in this beautiful community in the Smoky Mountains.”
Included amenities for Dollywood’s new residence hall
Standard rooms will accommodate four residents with four beds. Amenities include individual lockers, a private bathroom, a large fridge and a desk.
ADA-accessible rooms will have space for two individuals. These rooms will contain the same amenities as the standard rooms.
Additionally, a common kitchen, gathering space and laundry facilities will be included.
And of course, Wi-Fi will be available throughout the building.
The ground floor of the building will provide additional office space and other facilities designed to support seasonal staffers.
Who is eligible to receive temporary housing at Dollywood?
The following seasonal workers may be eligible to live in Dollywood’s new residence hall:
- Students working at Dollywood through the U.S. Summer Work Travel program.
- Students working at Dollywood through U.S. college campus organizations like Campus Outreach, Navigators and Young Life.
- College interns working on specific assignments at Dollywood for educational credits.
- Employees of other area businesses in similar programs through organizations like Sevier County’s Southern Hospitality Internship.
Is it just for Dollywood employees?
As stated above, employees of other area businesses may also be eligible.
When will Dollywood’s new residence hall open?
The majority of the project is scheduled for completion in May 2022.
The ground floor will be unfinished when residents move in. But it will be completed soon after.
Other Dollywood projects coming soon
Last June, The Dollywood Company announced a $500 million investment strategy.
The investment is said to take place over the course of the next decade.
Slated projects include four new resorts, a campground and a new “record-breaking” attraction for the park.
The first project in the line-up will be a 302-room resort named HeartSong.
HeartSong will be located across from Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa in Pigeon Forge. The resort is set to open in 2023.
What do you think about Dollywood’s latest project? Do you think it will improve our staffing shortages problem? Will it attract more seasonal workers? Let us know what you think in the comments below. We are excited to hear from you.