A real estate deal has closed, and now a vacant lot on the corner of Hyacinth and Rivet Street in New Bedford’s South End will become the site of NorthStar Learning Center’s new early childhood education center.

The lot was previously owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River, said NorthStar Executive Director Maria Rosario in a media release. She said the diocese "generously reduced its price" to support the project. A $3 million capital campaign is now underway to support the $7.3 million project.

“Our vision is a state-of-the-art center where 134 young children and their families can benefit from a robust curriculum that will support children beyond their early years—preparing children to succeed not only in school, but in life,” Rosario said.

NorthStar, now headquartered at 58 Linden St., plans to partner with the Boston Children’s Museum to create on-site exhibits and free activities for children and families. “When parents and families are involved in early learning experiences with their children there is an immediate and long-term positive impact,” said Zoe Hansen-DiBello, NorthStar’s director of innovation.

NorthStar was founded in 1974 to respond to the needs of "historically oppressed, underrepresented, and chronically underserved communities of color in the City of New Bedford, once a safe haven for renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass," the organization states. They add that their name refers to the "roadmap in the sky" used by those escaping slavery.

The mission of NorthStar is “to help young people overcome poverty, discrimination, educational disadvantage, violence, and other adversity through learning essential competencies and hopefulness with which they can transform their lives and communities."

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