BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The lot next to Martin Luther King Boulevard in west Baltimore currently sits empty, but not for long: in two years it will be the home to a brand new Catholic school, the first new one in the city in 60 years.

It’s a $24 million investment in Baltimore City youth.

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“This is a beautiful day,” said executive director of Southwest Baltimore Partnership Michael Seipp.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore, along with community leaders, are officially breaking ground on Mother Mary Lange Catholic School.

“We’re saying we believe in our community, we believe in Baltimore, we believe in Baltimore’s residents, we believe in Baltimore’s young people,” said Archbishop Lori.

The nearly 66,000-square-foot elementary school will be able to hold 520 students and will absorb students from Holy Angels and Saints James and John.

Parents and future students are excited about the new school.

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“Give the kids the opportunity to see and experience things that they haven’t had the opportunity to experience. Robotics class, science classrooms, music classrooms that are state of the art,” said Garian Holley, a mother.

“I’m excited because we’re going to be the first class, and we can be the model students,” said future student Ayanna Bratcher.

Named after Mother Mary Lange, a pioneer who helped educate children of color in Baltimore in the 1800s, the school will be located across the street from the University of Maryland Baltimore campus, and will serve low-income, predominantly non-Catholic, minority households.

“They’re committed to equity, they’re committed to changing the equation that many of our neighborhoods had to suffer through over the last four to five generations,” Seipp said.

The Archdiocese will be making more than $1 million in tuition assistance and grants available to qualifying students.

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The school is set to open in September 2021.

Sean Streicher