Construction on Apartments for Teachers to Begin

WELCH, W.Va. (WOAY) – The Reconnecting McDowell public-private partnership to revitalize schools moved forward with a groundbreaking ceremony at Renaissance Village, the centerpiece of the project.

“For McDowell County, Renaissance Village is not just about the green shoots of economic development but something more important—hope,” said Welch Mayor Harold McBride. “It’s been a long time since the people of Welch and McDowell County have had a reason to feel hopeful. Reconnecting McDowell’s work in the schools and communities has given us a new lease on life.”

Renaissance Village will be the first multistory construction in Welch in over 50 years. The building will give McDowell County teachers access to housing in a convenient location. The American Federation of Teachers says teachers have expressed interest in living closer to their workplace and students.

The building will be managed by the new nonprofit, Renaissance Village Inc. Rent has not yet been set.

Construction should take about a year and is focused in the town center. Officials hope the project will double as a revitalization opportunity for downtown Welch.

Reconnecting McDowell was launched in December 2011 as an unprecedented partnership to strengthen public education and rural communities by tackling poverty and saving the area’s biggest industries.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at