Groundbreaking at Renaissance Village symbolizes hope for local economy, school system

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Welch, WV (WVNS) – Community members in McDowell County are celebrating the construction of the Renaissance Village. It is a new apartment building that will house McDowell County teachers and public employees.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday, Sept. 9, with leaders of Reconnecting McDowell, a partnership that started in 2011 to revive the county.

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, and former West Virginia First Lady, Gayle Manchin, are the driving forces behind Reconnecting McDowell. Weingarten said since they formed the partnership, McDowell county schools are seeing higher graduation rates, lower dropout rates, and improved overall school achievement.

“It took us a while to figure out the financing, we had to figure out a way so it could be self-sustaining long term,” said Weingarten. “That’s why this piece of it was eight years in the making, but having this kind of building just creates hope.”

Construction is expected to take about a year. Community leaders hope these apartments will help attract more educators to McDowell County.

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