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YWCA Metro St. Louis to open early childhood education center in 39 North innovation district

The nonprofit will operate the center at 1138 N. Warson Road in Olivette in space leased from Miriam School and Learning Center.
Credit: Jerry Naunheim Jr., YWCA Metro St. Louis via St. Louis Business Journal

ST. LOUIS — YWCA Metro St. Louis is leading an effort to open an early childhood education center in the 39 North agtech innovation district to bring needed affordable childcare to the area, officials said Thursday.

The nonprofit will operate the center at 1138 N. Warson Road in Olivette in space leased from Miriam School and Learning Center. An opening is scheduled for fall 2023, with initially 70 children and plans to expand to 170 children at full capacity, officials said.

Miriam, which provides K-12 education for students with special learning needs, bought the building at 1138 N. Warson from H.F. Epstein Hebrew Academy in 2019 as the permanent home of Miriam Academy high school.

Buildout costs for the new center, as well as a financing model, are being developed, a spokeswoman told the Business Journal.

“Access to childcare is the single most limiting factor for women in the workforce," Dr. Cheryl Watkins, YWCA Metro St. Louis' president and CEO, said in a statement. "If parents can’t find quality care for their children, they can’t work. Creating a space for children to thrive creates a space for families to thrive.”

“Miriam School and Learning Center has been looking for a quality tenant to utilize the unused space in our building,” Bill Florent, interim executive director at Miriam, stated. “As an educational organization, we know the importance of providing affordable early childhood education for the community and are excited to be working on this project.” 

Also collaborating with the YWCA on the project are the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center not-for-profit research institute; St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, which serves St. Louis city and county; and city of Olivette. 

39 North is a 600-acre innovation district in St. Louis anchored by the Danforth Center, BRDG Park, Helix Incubator, Bayer Crop Science, and the Yield Lab.

The new center will serve the innovation district’s workforce as well as the community in general, officials said.

YWCA, the region's largest provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services, said the new facility will feature a STEAM-based curriculum. The center will integrate plant life science and innovation into its curriculum through the YWCA' partnership on the project with the Danforth Center and the agtech community in 39 North, officials said.

Read the full story on the St. Louis Business Journal website.

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