Carrie Rengers

Discovery Place is first tenant in building Mark Arts is leaving

The Discovery Place preschool is going to be the first tenant in the building that Mark Arts is leaving.

There’s “so much” to like about it, says Discovery executive director Dene Nelson.

“We love the building, and we love the land.”

The school will take 12,000 square feet of the 40,000-square-foot building at 9112 E. Central, which Mike Garvey of Builders Inc. purchased in November.

“It’s a perfect tenant for what we’re trying to do there as it relates to kids and creativity,” Garvey says of Discovery.

He’s going to share more about his overall plans soon.

Nelson started the preschool as a nonprofit in 1985 inside the Independent School.

In 1994, the school added some classrooms across the street at Hillside Christian Church and then moved the entire school there eight years ago.

Nelson says the plan was to build a new wing, “and that just never did work out.”

“And so we had this opportunity with Mike Garvey present itself a few months ago.”

Nelseon says Discovery takes inspiration from schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy, that emphasize self-directed, experiential learning.

“It has a lot to do with creative expression.”

She says the approach also is “somewhat nature based.”

“The facility and the grounds just matches our philosophy so well.”

Remodeling will begin in February or March. The school, which has about 200 children enrolled, should be ready to open in the new space in June.

Nelson says the move also is fitting since it was Garvey’s grandmother who started the Independent School.

“Mrs. Jean Garvey gave us the opportunity to start our program in 1985, and now her grandson is giving us the opportunity to … continue our program into the future.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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