TruVista to build Tech Center for teachers at Village of Winnsboro

An arial view of the Village of Winnsboro (formerly referred to as the Teacher’s Village) that sits behind the District Office on the bypass. The technology center being constructed by TruVista will be the centerpiece of the project. | Contributed

WINNSBORO – TruVista Communications is helping create teacher housing in Fairfield County. The company has announced that it will fund the construction of a central collaboration space that’s considered a key component of the project.

“We were so thrilled to be able to contribute to the village as a meaningful part of the effort to attract new teachers and to retain good teachers,” says TruVista President and CEO Carla French.

She says that in addition to building the TruVista Technology Center, the company has committed to equip the newly constructed building with technology and is also putting together a curriculum for the upcoming school year to help middle school students learn how to stay safe online.

While the amount of the “significant investment” that TruVista is making in the project has not been disclosed, the funding adds to the $4.15 million that’s already been committed to the village: $2.2 million from the county’s settlement with Dominion Energy, $600,000 from United Way of the Midlands, $50,000 from the Central Carolina Community Foundation, and $1.3 million borrowed by the Fairfield County School District Education Foundation.

Sue Rex, chair of the education foundation, says the technology center will be a place where teachers can collaborate, not just for mentoring and continuing education, but also in forming the kind of social bonds that can help support new teachers learning the profession.

“This center which is being paid for by TruVista is really going to be the centerpiece of our development because it’s where we get back to our mission,” Rex says, noting an intent for it to serve as a place for mentoring of new teachers by experienced ones. “Our mission is to provide support to teachers.”

In addition to the proposed construction of a technology center by TruVista, construction has also begun on the residential units, shown above. | Sue Rex

She says the other funding garnered to date will fund construction of homes with affordable rent for teachers. But, she says, the site is prepared for 26 homes – and the funding garnered so far will only cover the construction of 15 homes for teachers and one that will be rented by the University of South Carolina for use by students interning with the district.

Rex says there’s a waiting list of teachers who hope to move to the village when homes become available.

Rex says she hopes other businesses operating in the Fairfield County area will join in and invest in a project that she believes could become a model for rural communities looking to build their opportunities through education.

“I’d like to ask corporations, businesses, and other foundations to join our effort to have a model where we’re addressing recruitment and retention of teachers to rural parts of America,” Rex says.

Her hope, she says, is that the village will not only have a direct impact on training and retaining teachers in Fairfield County, but also that this impact will help to drive a number of other positive outcomes in the community, from improved education to the recruitment of business and industry.

French says that, for TruVista, it’s about investing in local communities.

“Our mantra is that we measure our success by the success of the communities that we serve,” she says, “and having a groundbreaking residential village like this inside Fairfield County, and to be part of that by providing technology for these teachers and access to the technology is really a remarkable opportunity for us to make a difference in Fairfield County.”

She encourages other businesses – large and small – to commit to being part of the project over the next 15 years, as TruVista has, whether they have the money to invest in a big project like a house or something much smaller, like donating computers or other technology tools.

“We want good things for the students. We want a place to allow students, when they’re adults, to be able to come back to,” she says.

“Congratulations to all that have been able to make this happen, and it starts with the foundation,” French says, “and the fire in the belly that they have for the children of Fairfield County.”

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