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Preschool, SENSES celebrate with grand opening

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Members of the Shelbyville Central administration and school board, as well as representatives from the City of Shelbyville and school employees, cut the ribbon to officially open the Golden Bear Preschool.
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Community members explore one of the rooms in the new Golden Bear preschool during Tuesday’s grand opening celebration.

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

Young children’s eyes lit up while showing off their rooms to parents Tuesday afternoon.

With faculty sporting big smiles and students eager to show off what they had already learned two months into the school year, the Golden Bear Preschool held its official grand opening Tuesday with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The new preschool, which is located in the old Marsh Supermarkets building, came to fruition after years of planning. Fourteen of the 15 preschool rooms are occupied in the more than 60,000-square-foot building, which also is home to SENSES and the Shelbyville Central Schools administration.

“It’s kind of a win-win not just for Shelbyville Central but for the community to take the abandoned Marsh and make it into a working and learning space that everyone can be proud of,” Shelbyville superintendent Mary Harper said.

Shelbyville Central Schools board members, families and other community members took self-guided tours throughout the building following the ribbon cutting. Teachers in each room greeted them with smiles and showed off their new room.

Principal Lora Nigh said the first two months have gone smoothly and the outdoor track recently opened.

“It’s just wonderful to finally get that finished product,” she said. “The teachers are very pleased.”

Harper admitted that she tries to get away from the office once a day to take a lap around the building and visit the little ones.

It’s a good way to relieve some stress from the job, she said.

“It keeps things real, in perspective, why we do the things we do,” she said.

While the preschool side opened in time for the start of the school year, the administration and SENSES waited for the school year to get settled before making the move.

SENSES was the last of the three to move in but is up and running.

The organization has seen a lot of new faces since moving, Holly Forville said.

“The outpouring from the community has been amazing,” she said, adding that over the past two Saturdays, they’ve seen a 50 percent increase in traffic.

The finished product was more than she expected. She said she was a little leery about the building being better lit than the previous location but has found that it is actually better for the children.

“It’s just a different vibe,” she said. “At the old location, it was really dark and we didn’t realize it was really dark. It’s just a completely different vibe. It’s really energetic.”