Vacant Shelbyville Marsh grocery opens as school

Golden Bear school in Shelbyville, Indiana. (Photo Provided/Schmidt Associates)

SHELBYVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Shelbyville Central Schools has repurposed what was a shuttered Marsh store on State Road 44.

The new early childhood education space, Golden Bear Preschool, celebrated its grand opening Monday.

Schmidt Associates, based in downtown Indianapolis, led the architectural design and engineering for the project, which revamped the building that had been empty since 2011.

The space will also house the district’s administrative offices.

The 62,000-square-foot, 15-classroom school features:

  • A 4-foot tall front door for kids.
  • Indoor and outdoor play areas, including a rock-climbing wall.
  • Classrooms with direct restroom access for kids and maximized storage for teachers.
  • A facility for sensory-stimulation and assistance for children with special needs.
  • A golden bear theme, with bear-shaped safety bollards at front entrance and abstract tree installations in academic corridors.

“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 in a statement. “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.”