SHELBYVILLE — What used to be an abandoned Marsh store is now a vibrant and useful preschool for Central Indiana kids.
Golden Bear Preschool opened its doors this week at the formerly shuttered Marsh on State Road 44 in Shelbyville.
The abandoned building had been vacant since 2011, until last year when Shelbyville Central Schools saw it as an opportunity to expand on early childhood education.
“Turning a grocery store into a preschool isn’t something we do every day,” Anna Marie Burrell, principal and K-12 Studio lead at Schmidt Associates, said. “We approached this heavily from the kids’ perspective, looking for opportunities to make them feel comfortable in a big, new space. Accessibility, safety, flexibility, and educational opportunity were key to creating an effective environment for early development.”
The district invited hundreds of people from the community into Golden Bear's halls to take a look at all the chances and the superintendent said they loved it.
"It was an abandoned eyesore for multiple years and so when you take that and you look outside the building and you know it's a place where students are learning, it's just wonderful," Shelbyville Schools superintendent Mary Harper said.
Indianapolis-based Schmidt Associates helped carry out the school's vision, adding fun details like a special four-foot tall front door for kids.
Indoor and outdoor play areas include a rock wall and a senses facility for sensory stimulation and assistance for children with special needs.