HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Catherine Hershey Schools (CHS) for Early Learning officially broke ground in Harrisburg on Sunday, marking the beginning of construction for its second Early Childhood Education Center.

The center will be free and will specifically cater to students under five years old who come from economically disadvantaged families.

Families and students will be provided with extra resources, like transportation to school and free diapers and wipes.

“It’s going to be amazing because we get an opportunity to support not only the children, but also the families,” CHS Harrisburg Center Director Malissa Doster said. “We know there’s a high need of high-quality care in Pennsylvania.”

According to center leaders, the ultimate goal is to provide students with the tools they need to succeed in primary school.

“When you look at data over a long period of time in Harrisburg, you’re seeing kids who are significantly below where they need to be at the kindergarten level,” Superintendent of Harrisburg Schools Eric Turman said. “This is obviously going to be an opportunity to help those students get to a point where they’re kindergarten ready.”

The school will open to 150 students in 2024.