December 15, 2023

State Sen. Jeff Gordon (R-Woodstock) and State Sen. Mae Flexer, members of the Appropriations Committee, today announced that the State Bond Commission will approve $80,000 to create an ADA-compliant playground at the Mary R. Fisher Elementary School in Thompson, which is home to about 400 students.


“This funding will make the playground usable, safer, and more accessible,” said Sen. Gordon, who represents part of Thompson. “I have seen the playground firsthand. It definitely needs repair and upgrades. This improvement project has bipartisan support and will increase recreational opportunities for Thompson children and their  families. I am very happy to have helped move things forward. It needed to be done for the kids! I thank Governor Lamont for recognizing the merits of this project. Thank you also to the Mary Fisher PTO for raising money for this project. I will continue to work collaboratively with my legislative colleagues, state and local officials, and others in town, to help the people of Thompson.”


Mary R. Fisher Elementary School PTO Treasurer Jessica Bolte, who is also a member of the Thompson Board of Education, said the playground has been closed to students for over a year, leaving them to play on blacktop and a soccer field with materials handed out on “recess carts” by teachers.


“This new playground will be fantastic and will allow our students to go out and play, and maybe make many of them want to go to school even more,” Bolte said. “Our kids need the ability to play. It’s good for motor skills and social development.”


“Mary Fisher students should never have gone this long without a functional playground in the first place. It’s hard to understand why local resources weren’t allocated. But after seeing the fenced-off former playground for myself, I knew something had to change,” Sen. Flexer said. “Thank goodness the Mary Fisher PTO and Thompson parents did a fantastic job of raising tens of thousands of dollars over the past year for this project, and now state money is putting it over the top. Thanks to these amazing volunteers, the community, and the state, these students will finally get the recess time that all kids want and deserve.”


“On behalf of the students of the Mary R. Fisher Elementary School, I would like to thank Senators Flexer and Gordon for advocating for this much-needed funding to build a new outdoor play area that promotes exercise and healthy activities for young children,” said Thompson Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Melinda A. Smith. “I also have much appreciation for the PTO parents who have gone above and beyond to creatively raise money for this project. It’s inspiring to see what can be done for the community when you have state leaders and parents working together.”


Bolte said over the past year the Mary R. Fisher Elementary School PTO has raised $60,000 for the new playground. She said the new playground – which is currently accessed by a hill – will be re-graded to allow for easier access by children with mobility issues. The new playground will also feature various types of swings, slides, climbing cubes, and smaller components. She expects it will be installed next summer.