Completed in September of 2021, the Clinton Hill Early Learning Center was the brainchild of four non-profit groups: The Maher Charitable Foundation, La Casa de Don Pedro, Clinton Hill Community & Early Childhood Center, Inc., and Clinton Hill Community Action. The consortium set out to address the lack of quality early childhood education facilities in Newark’s South Ward.
The new 40,000-square-foot, two-story Early Head Start and Pre-School, designed to accommodate 200 children spanning ages as young as six months to four years old, transformed a long-vacant site into a thriving, vibrant center for young children. The building includes 16 classrooms, two indoor play areas, a family center, a play therapy suite for La Casa’s Early Head Start Program, and Clinton Hill’s expanded free preschool/Pre-K program and offices.
Interior design carefully considered the use of natural light as well as security, including windows strategically placed for views of the courtyard and the Hawthorne Avenue Farm, a community garden that is adjacent to the property. Donnelly Construction was hired to build the $16 million project, which created 400 construction jobs and 52 permanent jobs after completion. In addition to being a learning and play center for children, the property also serves as a community center. A multipurpose room and adjacent warming kitchen provide flexible space to accommodate community functions after hours, as well as housing the Pre-K gross motor area during the weekdays.
Richard Alderiso, AIA,
Principal In Charge,
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