Glick family donates $10M to Jackson Public Schools for fieldhouse, Withington Stadium improvements

JACKSON, MI — Al Glick and the Glick family have always been proud of their hometown. This year, they chose to show their pride with a multi-million donation to Jackson Public Schools.

Glick and his family have donated $10 million for the construction of a multi-purpose indoor fieldhouse, concessions building and improvements to disabled spectator seating at Withington Stadium at Jackson High School.

“Our family recognizes the importance of the public school system in the Jackson community,” said Glick, who co-founded Jackson’s Alro Steel with his brother Robert in 1948.

“The approval of the Jackson Public School bond ($86.7 million) in 2018 is an acknowledgment that the community feels the same. It is our hope that the new multi-purpose fieldhouse will be used by many sports and school organizations, and when combined with the JPS bond improvements, will make Jackson High School stand out for generations to come.”

The fieldhouse will sit on the north side of of the high school on the spot of the former tennis courts, and the concession stand will be on the southside of the football field, Superintendent Jeff Beal said. Construction is expected to start in spring 2021.

The donation was partially spurred by the community’s approval of 2018 bond because Glick saw how people supported the district and its future goals, Beal said.

Related: Voters say a resounding yes to $86.7 million Jackson Public Schools bond

“He looked and said what are those things that the bond couldn’t buy? What are those things that the bond couldn’t do?” Beal said. “We were able to identify some areas that were were important and he was able to say, ‘I think I can help.’ It’s a blessing to have someone you know like Mr. Glick who is so passionate about our district, but to be able to have somebody say, ‘I think I can help them.’ That means the world to us.”

Glick’s father, Louis Glick, came to Jackson in 1916. He graduated from Jackson High School in 1944, after siblings Robert (1935), Agatha (1937) and Edith (1939). In all, four generations of the family have graduated from Jackson Public Schools.

“My father came to Jackson 102 years ago, pretty much broke,” Glick said when receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Michigan Manufacturers Association in 2018. “He always wanted to do things to make Jackson a better place to live. Myself and our family, we’ve always wanted to continue doing that.”

Related: 2012 Citizen of the Year: Al Glick honored for willingness to help others, dedication to local community

The practice facility at Jackson High will have an athletic weight training area, a full-width football field, sprint lanes and batting cages. Beal said he envisions everyone from marching band to soccer teams to find use of the fieldhouse.

The donation is being specifically given for this project, Beal said. It does not free up bond money or general funds, Beal said, but rather addresses desired improvements at Jackson High that have not yet been funded.

The project is expected to take 14 months to complete, Beal said. JPS hopes to open the new facilities in fall 2022.

“As we emerge out of COVID and we realize that life is going to go on, post COVID-19, this facility will be a beacon of hope, a shining example of there are great things happening in our school,” Beal said.

Related: Al Glick honored with lifetime achievement award

The Glick family is known for its philanthropy in Jackson and Ann Arbor, including $3 million to Mott Children’s Hospital, $8.7 million for a University of Michigan football practice facility and numerous investments in youth sports in Jackson.

Alro Steel is a distributor of metals, industrial supplies and plastics, based in Jackson. The business offers cut-to-size orders for next-day delivery.

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