Quietly behind the Almost New Thrift Shop, a container house is being installed to serve as a dorm for new rural medicine students.
A tip from a local resident inspired the MHA Foundation to build the three-bedroom, two-bath home out of shipping containers on its land off of Aero Drive.
“When we met with Out of the Box Structures and they began their presentation, they mentioned containers. We thought, “Oh boy, what have we gotten into,” said Sanja Long, foundation CEO.
Shipping containers have emerged as new, if unconventional, building material in recent years.
The average price of container homes comes in at around $80,000, according to the website discovercontainers.com.
The site estimates homes built out of containers can last up to 25 years, so long as they are regularly inspected for any signs of rust.
After watching a video illustrating how developers have turned containers into houses, shops and offices, “that got our interest,” said Long.
“When we looked at what was capable of being built and at great cost savings, we became interested,” she said.
The MHA Foundation loved repurposing materials that are “essentially fireproof,” said Long.
Once completed, the container home will blend into the surrounding area with fireproof siding and roof.
The container dorm will be for primary care medical students getting hands-on clinical training by working with Payson doctors.
The MHA is working with the University of Arizona medical school in Phoenix on the program.
The MHA Foundation has leased a building near the Banner Payson Medical Center for classrooms, a library, a study area and other facilities along with building the dorm complex on its property. The foundation opted to build the facilities next to the hospital, the Christian Clinic and Dr. Michels’ practice so students can mostly walk from one assignment or class to another.
The foundation board says container homes could be an affordable solution to housing in Payson.
“I would love to see a container home factory come to Payson,” said Long.
Long has no clear end date for the construction but knows, “normally they have about a 70-day building timeline,” she said.
The foundation plans to hold an open house once the house is finished.
For more information on container homes, call the foundation’s contractor, Out of the Box Structures, at 420-452-8138.