What’s new at Yosemite Crossing shopping center? Get an inside look here.

The Yosemite Crossing shopping center first broke ground over two years ago and since then has welcomed a multitude of businesses like Crumbl Cookie, Sprouts, and Yosemite Station.

It will also be home to Buhach Preschool’s largest infant/toddler program, when it opens May 28.

Located across from Misters Car Wash, it will serve 121 children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old. Programs that will be offered include: infant care, toddler care, two-year-old introductory preschool, three-year-old preschool, pre-kindergarten, transitional kindergarten, and after-school care for children ages 6 to 12 years old.

Plans first started in 2019 after the City approved for childcare in the shopping center, said owner Juan Gama. Ground then broke around May/June of 2023.

Buhach Preschool is the largest provider of child care in Merced County and is looking to expand their services with this fourth location, said center director Jennifer Mays.

Gama hopes to offer quality care to as many children as possible. What makes this location different from the rest is the size of its infant/toddler program.

“We did have a specific plan to have a larger infant program because there is a very large need for infant care,” Gama said. “So we are hoping to ease the need for infant care in the community.”

The preschool will be able to care for 28 infants/toddlers (under 24 months), compared to their other locations who care for 17 and 11 infants/toddlers. The infant classroom is equipped with 14 cribs and all six classrooms are fully furnished.

Outside children have access to a playground, a sidewalk for riding tricycles, and grass areas for other outside activities. Umbrellas, shade sails, and playground canopies are also seen around the play area.

Other services include transportation from local schools and homework help. During the summer months it is transformed into “Camp Buhach,” providing care starting June 10 from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

As of now there are 50 spots open for preschool age children, 18 for school aged children, and a wait list for the infant/toddler program.

The original Buhach Preschool is on the National Register of Historic Places

Looking back at the history, the first-ever Buhach Preschool was built in 1907 near Buhach Road. Originally named Buhach Grammar School, it served the large population of Portuguese immigrants.

Around the 1950s the school was closed after the Buhach School District merged with the McSwain District. Throughout the following years it was used as storage for sweet potatoes.

In 1981 it was restored to its former purpose by Deborah Barrios-Lema, naming it Buhach Preschool. According to Gama, Barrios-Lema ran a successful home daycare in Atwater before acquiring the property.

After Barrios-Lema ran the preschool for a couple of years she sold the business but remained owner of the building, said Gama.

Finally in 2011, Gama acquired the property and in 2012 Buhach Preschool was reborn. Gama went on to open three more locations in Merced near Collins Drive, Loughborough Drive, and now Yosemite Crossing.

Buhach Preschool is currently hiring qualified infant and preschool teachers.

Other shopping center businesses include Starbucks, Panda Express, 7-Eleven, The Habit Burger Grill, Jamba Juice, Mountain Mike’s Pizza, Kabab City, West Coast Sourdough, and The Joint Chiropractic.

Yosemite Crossing is located on E. Yosemite Ave. and G Street.