Kawasaki Manufacturing Corp. recently made a gift of $100,000 for the new SSM Health Preschool & Child Care Center, currently under construction.

“This generous donation made by the Kawasaki Good Times Foundation creates a wonderful partnership between Kawasaki and SSM Health Preschool,” Megan Jennings, St. Francis Hospital Foundation development officer, said. “We are excited about the opportunities this creates for our Kawasaki families.”

The new 14,200-square-foot early learning center will double the capacity of children served by the current SSM Health preschool from 67 to 136, expanding access to families that need care. The facility will include 11 classrooms serving children ages six weeks to five years, along with before and after school care and summer camps. A large, gross-motor activity space will give children the opportunity to learn, move and play outside their classroom, and during times of inclement weather when outside play is not permissible.

Kawasaki’s partnership with SSM Health Preschool & Child Care Center will offer Kawasaki families priority enrollment, preferred pricing with sliding scale discounts and back-up child care. Opportunities for second and third shift care are currently being evaluated.

“We know that high-quality, reliable child care directly correlates to employer and employee satisfaction,” Tim Melvin, Kawasaki human resources manager, said. “It creates a culture where employees miss fewer days, are less stressed and oftentimes more productive.”

Currently, Kawasaki families make up more than 20 percent of the enrollment at SSM Health Preschool. The new center is expected to open in August 2018.