NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts zoo has received a $300,000 donation it will use to enhance its educational mission.

The Standard-Times reports that the Buttonwood Zoo Park Zoological Society in New Bedford received the gift from the Bristol County Savings Bank, a long-time zoo supporter.

The money will be used for construction of the zoo's Nature Connection Education Center.

Officials say the domestic barn will be repurposed into three barn-themed classrooms on the first floor and additional classroom and event space on the second floor. It will provide a safe environment for children to explore nature and make a personal connection to wildlife.

The groundbreaking is expected in the fall, and completion of the center is scheduled for the following spring.

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Information from: The (New Bedford, Mass.) Standard-Times, http://www.southcoasttoday.com