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Progress in the new West Virginia teacher apartment complex

WELCH, W.Va. (AP) – A condominium designed to offer McDowell teachers new places to live is taking shape constantly and joining the skyline of downtown Welch.

Construction began in early August 2019 on new housing on the site of the old Best Furniture Building. The project was initially known as the Teachers’ Village, but later the name was changed to the Renaissance Village. In addition to the apartments for educators, the building will also have a new commercial space.

Bob Brown, treasurer for McDowell reconnection, said the top two floors will have 16 apartments.

“They are a combination of one and two bedroom apartments,” he said. “The first two floors will be commercial and / or commercial spaces. It is going very well. “

Much of the exterior of the building is finished and the interior spaces are still being finished. The plan is to open Renaissance Village later this summer.

“Hopefully it will be ready by July 1st,” said Brown. “This is our hope right now.”

McDowell County School Superintendent Carolyn Falin said she saw progress every day when driving from Renaissance Village.

The Reconnect McDowell organization began in Renaissance Village so that the county could offer local housing for teachers. Many McDowell County teachers have to travel long distances every day and many do not live in the county itself. Accommodation must be within teachers’ reach, said Falin.

“One of the problems we’ve had in the past is that we don’t have housing or rental houses,” said Falin. “Most people want to sell their homes and don’t have many properties.”

McDowell County Schools currently has 24 teaching vacancies, said Falin. Substitute teachers are occupying these positions until candidates can be found.

“This (Renaissance Village) will give them the opportunity to rent a place and call home,” he said.

Officials from Welch City said at the start of construction that in addition to making it easier for new teachers to live in McDowell County, the new condominium will boost the local economy by bringing more people to the downtown neighborhood.

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