Greek School of Plato Breaks Ground in Brooklyn

Second grader Vasiliki Christakou (center) spoke during the groundbreaking ceremony about being a part of the Greek School of Plato. (Photo by Kosta Bej via The National Herald)

A groundbreaking ceremony on Sept. 10 for the Greek School of Plato at 670 92nd St. in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, introduced the hundreds on hand to what will become a modern educational and cultural center for families of the school, the Greek community and Brooklyn residents as a whole. The site will include the school and a community center.

In its coverage of the event, The National Herald wrote that the three-story building, plus a basement, “will have an amphitheater, community hall, 15 classrooms, and will cost more than $5 million.” So far, the project has raised $2.5 million.

The President of the Board of Directors, Maria Abazis-Doukas, and the Vice-President and Chairman of the Building Commission, Spiros Geroulanos, speaking with The National Herald, pointed out that the ground-breaking ceremony is one of the top events in the 40-year history of the Greek School of Plato and at the same time the beginning of a titanic struggle to raise the $2.8 million shortfall to complete the project.

The aim of the Plato School Leadership is to complete the project by the summer of 2018 so that the new school year starts in the new school complex.

Meaghan McGoldrick, who reported on the ceremony for Brooklyn Reporter, noted that the space, which is about 14,000 square feet, will give the Greek School a permanent home.

Until now, the Greek School – an educational and cultural organization that, since its inception in 1977, has passionately promoted Hellenic heritage in Brooklyn through language instruction and arts programming – has been “homeless,” according to the president of its school board and chairperson of the construction committee Spiro Geroulanos.

“We rent space currently for our students,” he said, “so this has been a dream that we’ve had for a long time, to have a home of our own.”

Paula Katinas, who covered the groundbreaking event for Brooklyn Daily Eagle, said that the ceremony “demonstrated the size and strength of Bay Ridge’s vibrant Greek-American community,” given the hundreds who turned out. She quoted Spiro Geroulanos as saying that the center is intended for the whole neighborhood.

Spiro Geroulanos, chairman of the construction committee, said the new community center will be open to the entire neighborhood, not just the students from the Greek School of Plato. “By constructing this new building we will be ensuring that Plato will serve as a beacon for this community and for all families for decades to come,” he said.

Katinas added that “plans for the new facility did not come without controversy, however.” Read more on what took place in the three years leading up to the ceremony at Brooklyn Daily Eagle and Brooklyn Reporter. And go to The National Herald for photos and video of the event.

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