Thursday was the beginning of a project that is expected to reignite education in McDowell County.

A ceremony was held for the start of the Renaissance Village, an apartment complex for teachers in downtown Welch. The Best Furniture and Katzen buildings are being torn down for the construction of the apartments. 

Kelsie Potter will be a senior at Mount View High School. She believes a quality and convenient place to live will attract more teachers to come and stay in McDowell County for the long run.

“We need someone that’s going to bridge the gap between McDowell County and higher education,” Potter tells 59News. “So if we have long term teachers here, then you can go back to that teacher whether you’re a senior, and you had her freshman year in English – go back and ask her. You know in your class I learned this, can you help me out? And she’s going to help you because she’s been there long term and knows what you’re going through.”

Reconnecting McDowell chair, Gayle Manchin shares the same hope. She says the county will also see a positive economic impact from the Renaissance Village.

“This community deserves, like every community, every opportunity to better the quality of life for their children and their families,” Manchin says. “And we believe this is a very visible way to say we’re moving in that direction.”

The entire Renaissance Village project costs $6 million. About $4 million of it has already been paid for through federal and state grants. 

Reconnecting McDowell is now looking for donations and other grants for the other two million dollars. The goal for officials with Reconnecting McDowell is to have this project completed by as early as next school year.