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Playground to become reality for Glickman

City and school officials gathered at the Glickman School to accept a donation from LA Fitness for the school's playground. Seen above are (standing) School Committee Member Marjorie Hurst, School Committee Member Antonette Pepe, City Council President Bud Williams, LA Fitness General Manager Michael Brunt, developer Peter Pappas, (seated) Glickman School Principal Martha Kelliher, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, education activist Lois Smith, and LA Fitness Regional Vice President Antonio Vincent. Photo courtesy of James Langone
By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD Come next year the students of the Glickman School will have something they've never had before: a playground.

Students and teachers gathered in an assembly with elected officials and businessmen on Friday to celebrate the funding of a playground that will be designed for disabled students as well.

Antonio Vincent, the regional vice president, and Michael Brunt, general manager, of LA Fitness contributed $25,000 to the project at the assembly. The students showed their appreciation to the national fitness company with hand-made cards and posters from each class.

The parents and students of the school have been raising money and the Sarno Administration and the School Committee have promised $35,000 to fund the playground. Patrick Sullivan, the head of the Department of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management, said an average school playground costs between $40,000 and $50,000, but because this one will be inclusive for students with special needs the cost will be about $91,000.

Glickman School Principal Martha Kelliher said the result would be a "fabulous, fabulous playground." The groundbreaking for the project will be May 30.

"This playground is so important because it involves students with special needs," said School Committee Member Antonette Pepe.

Pepe called education activist Lois Smith, who worked to obtain the contribution from LA Fitness, "one of the biggest heroes in the city."

Kelliher said that Smith shows "it only takes one person talking to someone to make a dream become a reality."