City leaders and other community members celebrated the groundbreaking for the Environmental Nature Center's 8,000-square-foot, three-classroom preschool Thursday evening in Newport Beach.

The preschool will be built next to the nature center's redwoods. About 40 people attended the ceremony, including Newport Beach Mayor Marshall Duffield, Councilman Brad Avery and a representative of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa).

The preschool, designed by Irvine-based architectural firm LPA Inc., will have outdoor teaching spaces where boulders, logs and tree stumps will be used for seating. There also will be an organic garden.

Children will do everything they would in a traditional preschool as well as learn about nature with the center's naturalists, officials said.

"I thought this day would never come," said Bo Glover, executive director of the Environmental Nature Center. "The impact of our nature preschool on students, community and world will be more than any of us can ever imagine."


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