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Living the high life: High Rise open house draws a crowd
Apartments available at the renovated site
Great Bend Chamber of Commerce ambassadors and others pose for a grand opening photo in front of the High Rise, celebrating the completion of its $16 million renovation. - photo by photos by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

The first floor of the High Rise was packed with visitors Thursday morning when the Great Bend Housing Authority hosted an open house and Great Bend Chamber of Commerce Coffee at the newly-renovated apartment complex. 

GBHA last hosted an open house in January of 2022, after Hutton Construction of Wichita completed the first phase of the multi-million dollar renovation of the 12-story building at 1101 Kansas Ave. The renovation included all areas of the structure, from the apartments and hallways to the shared spaces, elevators and office spaces.

Phase One started with a groundbreaking ceremony on May 3, 2021. It focused on the upper floors, and now the entire building has been renovated, said Lynn Fleming, executive director of the Great Bend Housing Authority.

“This building is now 50 years old, and it showed it when I came here 13 years ago,” Fleming commented at the open house. “We have now done a $16 million renovation; Hutton Corporation did a fabulous job.”

This project took years to develop, from fundraising to construction, Fleming said.

“We did everything – we did sheetrock, we did fixtures within bathrooms, kitchens, everything inside the walls, boiler room, you name it. Almost every inch of this building got touched and it turned out amazing and we’re thrilled.”

The High Rise has 81 apartments that house people of low income. At present, there are 25 vacant apartments.

The Great Bend Housing Authority also operates a Section 8 program in which it helps an additional 100 people in Great Bend receive rental assistance, Fleming said.

Also speaking at the open house was Chris Beurman, director of community development with Aetna Better Health of Kansas, an investor in the High Rise renovation.

“Some of you may not know that CVS Health acquired Aetna at the end of 2018 and we’re now one large combined health-care company,” Beurman said. “And we know that health and well-being is directly tied to having access to safe, clean and affordable housing. That’s why in the past three years, we’ve invested almost $9 million to help renovate nearly 270 new senior, family and permanent supportive homes in the state of Kansas, including these newly renovated homes here at the Great Bend High Rise.”

He added, “We believe that living at home results in the best quality of life for all individuals.”

Following the coffee, Chamber ambassadors and others stepped outside for a Grand Opening photo, and there were tours of the fifth-floor apartments and the 12th floor, which features stunning views, a community room with kitchen, a library/TV room, a smaller meeting room, exercise equipment and offices. For anyone wanting to learn more about the GBHA’s High Rise Apartments, the Section 8 voucher program, or the qualifications for each program, information can be found on the organization’s website at