New owners share vision for Magnolia school mall

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Restaurant, florist and antique shops all possibilities for old school

By Candis Carpenter

After sitting empty for four years, Magnolia Elementary School is getting spruced up to serve a different purpose under new ownership.
Christine and Brent Shelton and Terry and Diane Shelton purchased the property by sealed bid from the LaRue County Board of Education through their company Quarry Hill Monuments for $60,000 last November.
Terry Shelton said his intentions for the building were to bring more business to Magnolia and LaRue County and that the building would be “used in good faith and in a family oriented way.” Soon the idea was hatched for “Magnolia Mall.”
The Sheltons plan to utilize the 27,000-square-feet building to house booth vendors, a salon, florist, restaurant, Magnolia School museum and several other business entities.
According to Christine Shelton, the construction is being done in three phases. Phase one is the setup of antique booths and the florist by Labor Day weekend. The second phase is the construction of the salon and the third phase is the opening of the restaurant. Shelton hopes to have phase two and three completed by the end of fall.
Despite the lengthy cleanup process due to vandalism and debris inside the school, construction is “right on target,” said Shelton.
Details are already in place for the eatery that will be called “Decades.” Decades will feature sections from the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s. Shelton said that the name came to mind after thinking about how many people have passed through the school over the decades since it was once a high school and grounds to Magnolia College. The handprints of former students that once adorned the cafeteria walls had to be painted over but photos were taken of all the handprints that were not ruined by moisture before painting.
“If people want to call me I will get them a copy of their handprint,” said Shelton. Original handprints remain on the walls for the kindergarten through third grade hallways.
Shelton plans to dedicate one room as a  Magnolia School museum.  
“What I need the community’s help with is either to borrow pictures to copy, donate or loan to the museum,” said Shelton “I would (also) love to have some original desks that came from the school.”
Yearbooks, trophies, letterman jackets and anything else that relates to the schools will be accepted.
Shelton is also looking into the possibility of developing something at the school for the youth.
“We would love to have a putt-putt golf in the back ... but these are just ideas, we’re open to suggestions.”
Also, Shelton is hoping someone can get some use of the playground equipment on the property by opening a daycare business in the building.
“The first grade hallway is still empty,” said Shelton “It is set up for little ones.”
Shelton has also registered the 1938 school gymnasium with the Kentucky film association and they have requested photos of the building. The building is now a candidate for films and documentaries.
“They would like to use the gym either for a prom scene or a basketball scene because of its age,” said Shelton. Kentuckians will more than likely be seeing more filming in the state due to tax breaks said Shelton.
Many ideas are still in the development stages but if you would like to submit requests, suggestions or items for uses of the building, call Christine Shelton at 270-218-0895.