Jun 5, 2013 9:19 PM by Jacqui Heinrich,

Local business owners transform old Ivywild School

It was 2009 when the historic Ivywild Elementary School was shut down due declining enrollment; since then, it's sat vacant and the community has been worried about what would come of the neighborhood left empty. Now, a group of local business owners determined to revitalize the building and the neighborhood have transformed it into a hangout hot spot complete with a brewery, pub, deli, bakery, and coffee shop.

"We've always loved this building then when it closed to me it was like well we have to do something, somebody has to do something with that great building," said Amanda Bristol, co-owner of Bristol Brewery. "It's been a landmark here for almost a hundred years and you just can't forget that heritage." Amanda and her husband Mike collaborated with Blue Star Restaurant owner Joe Coleman to conceive the project that's taken about three years and $5 million to complete.

The old principal's office has been re-purposed into a coffee shop and cocktail bar, appropriately named The Principal's Office. Old swing sets, Bunsen burners and chalk boards were incorporated into the design to keep the spirit of the building alive.

Down the hall, two former classrooms have been transformed into a deli, 'The Meat Locker', and a bakery, aptly named the Old School Bakery. Customers can purchase pies, cakes, and pastries from the bakery or spend their lunch hour at The Meat Locker, which not only offers house-cured meats, but ready-made sandwiches like the 'Lunch Lady Special'. At the other end of the hallway another classroom has been revamped to accommodate Bristol Brewery, which moved from their former location across Tejon Street, expanded for an addition with a new pub and tasting room.

The remainder of the school will be used for community meetings and business functions. The group of  business owners who took on the job hope free wifi and an assortment of venues will draw the public to spend their time-- and money-- in the repurposed school given a second chance for success.

The Ivywild School is open for business now; a grand opening is scheduled for later this summer.


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