SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — This was the first day back to school for many of the kids who had been at the Square One center on Chestnut Street. It was heavily damaged in last week’s natural gas explosion at the nearby Scores Gentlemen’s Club, and for many of those kids, this was the second time they’ve seen their school destroyed.
Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, Square One was empty.
“Had we been open, we would have been completely full at the time of the explosion,” said Kimberley Lee, Vice President, Advancement for Square One.
“It’s very lucky we weren’t,” she said.
The organization was also lucky no one was seriously hurt in the June tornado during which another location, on Main Street, was open. That building was destroyed and, in fact, many of the children were transferred to the Chestnut location.
“And now many of them are once again transitioning,” said Lee. “It’s taken an emotional toll on everybody.”
The future of the Chestnut building is uncertain. While the front of the building looks mostly in tact except for broken windows, the roof and inside walls have caved in. And what’s ironic about all this is that it was just the day before Thanksgiving, Lee said, that the organization had been told a settlement was reached with the insurance company for the loss of the Main Street property.
About 100 children, from toddlers to five-year-olds are being sent to one of the three remaining Square One centers and also to the New Beginnings Childcare Center.
Square One needs help contacting some of the families from the Chestnut location to let them know where to take their children.
The parents can call either 413-732-5183 or 413-858-3108.