SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – City of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno attended a special topping-off ceremony for the new state-of-the-art DeBerry-Swan School Tuesday morning.
The mayor was joined with the following:
- Superintendent of Schools Daniel Warwick
- Director of the Department of Capital Asset Construction Peter Garvey
- School Committeewoman Barbara Gresham
- School Building Commission Chair Norman Roldan
- Massachusetts School Building Authority Chief Executive Officer James MacDonald
- State Senator Adam Gomez
- State Representative Bud Williams
- Ward 4 City Councilor Malo Brown
- Members of the School Committee and School Building Commission
- Retired State Representative Benjamin Swan
The event began Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at the DeBerry-Swan School located at 680 Union Street in Springfield.
The Homer Street School was renamed DeBerry-Swan School in honor of civil rights icon and former Springfield State Representative Benjamin Swan after the school committee launched an online survey for residents to voice their opinions. The school committee voted in November to rename the school in honor of Rep. Ben Swan.
“This is a tremendous honor for me and for every member of my family. To have a school named in your honor is not something that happens every day and it’s not something I take lightly,” said Swan during comments made following the School Committee vote.
Swan a longtime civil rights advocate dating back to the 1960s. He was born in Mississippi but moved to Springfield in 1950. During the 60’s, he served multiple roles with the Springfield NAACP and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma. He went on to be elected as a State Representative for 11th Hampdens District in 2009.
The DeBerry and Homer schools will merge students from two of the city’s oldest school buildings. The Homer Street School opened in 1898 and The William N. DeBerry Elementary School was built in 1951. These plans have been in the works since 2019.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held in September in Springfield’s Mason Square neighborhood for the $95 million facility. Construction on the school should be complete by 2023.