WELCH, W.Va. — A long-talked-about project that many feel will help improve education in McDowell County is set to take a major step forward Monday when ground is broken for Renaissance Village.

The project is a leading project of Reconnecting McDowell, an effort that began in 2011 when the American Federation of Teachers joined with partners to improve public education in one of the state’s struggling counties.

Renaissance Village will be a home for educators located in Welch. One of the challenges of Reconnecting McDowell and the McDowell County school system has been to recruit and retain teachers. Officials have said part of that equation has to providing housing for educators.

A groundbreaking ceremony is set for 10 a.m. Monday in downtown Welch at the site of the former Best Furniture building. AFT national president Randi Weingarten will be on hand along with former state School Board member Gayle Manchin, United Mine Workers Union President Cecil Roberts, Liz Shuler, secretary-treasurer, AFL-CIO, along with local officials.

According to organizers, Renaissance Village will be the first multistory construction project in McDowell County in more than 50 years.

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