PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — Dollywood on Thursday broke ground on a new residence hall at its park that will accommodate seasonal workers.
The Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg areas have struggled with a shortage of affordable worker housing. State and local leaders in recent years began encouraging and offering incentives to businesses in those areas to develop on-site seasonal worker housing as a way to alleviate the housing shortfalls and to prevent worker shortages.
Set to open in May 2022, the new four-story, 136,000-square-feet residence hall complex at Dollywood will be able to host more than 750 seasonal employees and will cost roughly $20 million to develop. Rooms are able to accomodate four residents with four beds, lockers, a private bathroom, a fridge, study desk and air conditioning. ADA rooms have space for two people with the same amenities.
The building will have wifi, a common kitchen area, a gathering space and laundry facilities. Dollywood said the ground floor will be unfinished when residents begin moving in next year, but would be completed soon after to provide office space and other facilities.
Dollywood is working with Wisconsin-based Holtz Builders, Inc. on the project.
"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," Tim Berry, Dollywood Vide President of Human Resources said. "Employee housing is a crucial piece of the employment equation in this area, and we are glad to partner with Holtz to create this new opportunity here at Dollywood.”
Dollywood said the residence hall will be open to temporary seasonal workers employed at Dollywood through a variety of hiring programs, including college students seeking work through summer work travel programs.