A brief history of the P.R. Mallory Campus:
It was originally home to the first Indianapolis baseball team in 1900. In 1906, the Wonderland Amusement Park took over the site. With some financial struggles, the site would then be destroyed by fire in 1911. From there the P.R. Mallory Headquarters would run as an industrial powerhouse, producing a game “Finance” (a predecessor to the game Monopoly) as well as the Duracell battery. Unfortunately, the Mallory facility was downsized and then sat vacant for nearly 30 years. After community-based leaders and developers came together and raised $38 million to remediate, redevelop, and historically preserve the campus, the P.R. Mallory Building is now officially home to two new charter schools and other commercial entities.
The Grand Opening Event:
On Monday, July 20, 2020, the Near Eastside of Indianapolis celebrated the grand opening of the new P.R. Mallory Campus. It was a beautiful Indianapolis morning, and the community spirit of the near Eastside could be felt even through social distancing protocols. After 30 years of vacancy, the 120,000 square-foot administration building will become an educational beacon for the community with a deliberate strategy ensuring more youth from the City of Indianapolis have access to K-12 educational opportunities. A second 70,000 square foot building on the campus known as the “bunker building” will house a hydroponic growing operation, Purdue Robotics, and other for-profit tenants. This is a monumental achievement for the Eastside community, creating educational, commercial, and employment opportunities for the neighborhood. It also has green spaces surrounding the site, conducive to the future Indy Go Blue Line that will go through Washington Street where the campus is located.
The project was led by the John Boner Neighborhood Center (co-developer and co-partner), as well as the IndyEast Promise Zone, and implementation partner Englewood Community Development Center (co-developer and co-partner).
Purdue Polytechnic High School Downtown
Purdue High School’s Head of Master Scott Bess said it was “faith” that guided this project along because “we knew this would happen. We saw the drawings, our friends at Schmidt put this stuff together. But even then you couldn’t fully realize, Shatoya and I laugh, we’d walk in the building and we’d just giggle. To see what it is now, and what it means, is an amazing transformation”. Bess is certainly correct, the refurbished building has modern touches and glorious views of downtown Indy and its sheer size and demeanor is a prized landmark for East Washington Street, Englewood, the Near Eastside, and the City of Indianapolis.
After two years of operating school in different locations, Purdue Polytechnic High School Downtown has a place to finally call home – a place to be proud of. Shatoya Ward, Principal of Purdue’s Downtown High School is “so excited to be a part of this community” with the “rich history of the building” allowing PPHS to propel their students and to demonstrate their “values of communication, collaborations, and innovation” In fact, rooms labeled as “collaboration” and “maker-space” emulate the innovative approach and encouragement to students to learn “outside the box”.
Paramount Middle School – Englewood
Although Paramount is not new to the Near Eastside, having established its mission for “transforming communities” in 2010, their new location at the PR Mallory building has paramount meaning for their students. After having an opportunity to make a slight change added in Indiana state legislation, Tommy Redicks (CEO of Paramount Schools) mentions that they were able to craft language where two schools on one property could ensure enrollment priority – thus creating a clear trajectory for 5th graders all the way to Purdue University. Paramount has also incorporated a soft introduction for students in middle school, preparing a seamless transition to Purdue High School. Darius Sawyers, Principle of Paramount Englewood, explains the significance of introducing this soft model for middle school students in their music, art, physical education, Spanish, and STEM sessions, thus preparing them for the Purdue experience.
A Special Thanks:
As Mayor Joe Hogsett said, the new P.R. Mallory is an important milestone and a “hub of possibility and opportunity”. We are excited about the positive impact this new campus will provide to the Near Eastside and cannot thank enough for the support from all the partners involved in helping this project happen.
More information about our new neighbors:
Purdue Polytechnic High School
A free public charter high school that encourages learning outside the box – and the traditional classroom – through the lens of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Here, students take learning into their own hands, earning a well-rounded education, and mastering the skills needed to succeed in college and a technology-rich world.
Paramount Middle School (Englewood)
This is part of Paramount Schools of Excellence whose mission is to inspire learning through an unparalleled approach and transform communities by changing lives. Established in 2010 to serve Indianapolis’s Near Eastside, the schools’ education framework has proven successful with recognition by the state and federal departments of education. Paramount’s three campuses provide top-ranked academics for 1,100 K-8 grade students.
Uplift (Good Food On Purpose)
Growing clean, nutritious, fresh, and flavorful produce, Uplift utilizes a combination of sustainable growing methods, cutting-edge research, and revolutionary technology that limits our environmental impact. They seek to provide jobs and meaningful work to those who live within our communities, helping them fulfill their commitment to improving our communities through economic development, job creation, and property restoration.