Pilibos Breaks Ground on State of the Art Gymnasium Library Project

LOS ANGELES–More than 250 community leaders–faculty–students and organizational representatives on Sunday–May 20 attended a groundbreaking ceremony for a new gymnasium/library at the Rose and Alex Pilibos School. The ceremony was held under the auspices of Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian–who pledged his commitment and support to the completion and fruition of the project.

During a brief program following the traditional groundbreaking and blessing ceremony–the Prelate said he would do his utmost to ensure that the community rallies around the gymnasium/library project–slated for completion in the winter of 2002.

Among other dignitaries joining the Prelate at the ceremony were Armenia’s Consul General to Los Angeles Valery Mkrtoumian–Consul General of Lebanon Dr. John Maakaron and Assemblyman Dario Frommer (D-43)–who presented a proclamation in recognition of the school’s efforts to expand its educational facilities.

Master of Ceremonies and Pilibos Finance Committee chairman Sako Berberian welcomed the gathered and invited school principal Viken Yacoubian to accompany Bishop Mardirossian to perform the groundbreaking ceremony. Prior to the ceremony–the Prelate–along with Hollywood’s St. Garabed Church parish priest Rev. Vicken Vassilian–said a special prayer–blessing the ground and the project in general.

The Prelate and Yacoubian then proceeded with the ceremonial groundbreaking ritual–during which two bricks cemented in the shape of a cross were laid inside the broken ground. The Prelate then added soil and water blessed at Holy Etchmiadzin to the ground. According to project architects Robert Mangourian and Mary Anne Ray of LA-based Studio Works design firm–the bricks will be used as a centerpiece of the gymnasium/library project.

The construction of the new library/gymnasium complex on the grounds of the school can be seen as yet another sign of the school’s continued commitment to advance the academic and physical fitness of its students–ensuring a safe and effective environment for the future generation of Armenian-Americans.

This state-of-the-art facility will house a 3,000-plus square foot library–which will provide the most technologically advanced mechanisms and resources for the advancement of the students’ abilities to learn and grow.

The library–which will be built in the shape of Noah’s Ark–will stand atop the new subterraneous gymnasium. The library structure will not only represent the positioning of the ark atop Mount Ararat–but also the biblical significance of the ark as a depository of enlightenment and education.

The 10,550 square foot gymnasium facility will provide the complete tools necessary for improving the physical fitness of students–and enhance the faculty’s capabilities in instilling healthy competition and growth in the students.

In his remarks–Berberian also outlined the importance of the project in shepherding the school toward a new century of changes and challenges.

"Let’s build our future one plank at a time," declared Berberian–kicking off a campaign to rally the community behind the gymnasium/library project by garnering their moral and financial assistance in completing this capital development.

His remarks referred to plans to utilize planks to construct the exterior of both buildings–to mimic the effect of Noah’s Ark.

During impromptu remarks at the gathering–Consul General Mkrtoumian welcomed Pilibos’ effort to further its resources by the construction of the new facility and underlined the importance of such a project in advancing Armenian education in the Diaspora. The Consul General expressed his fervent support for the project–on behalf of the Consulate General of Los Angeles.

In his remarks–Armand Keosian chairman of the Board of Regents of the Prelacy Armenian Schools applauded the direction in which the Rose and Alex Pilibos School has taken in advancing the academic standards for its students. He commended the principal–the staff and faculty–as well as the entire Pilibos community for their commitment to educational excellence and furthering the opportunities of the Armenian youth.

Keosian also pledged the Board of Regents absolute support for the completion of the project.

In his remarks at the event–principal Yacoubian announced a generous donation of rare Armenian books and materials by long-time community leader and activist Buzant Granian–in whose name the current Pilibos library stands in the Abcarian building of the school.

Yacoubian also thanked long-time benefactors Richard and Tina Carolann for their continued support and dedication for school activities–as well as the Lincy Foundation for its commitment to the improvement of the school.

Appreciation was also expressed to the faculty and staff of the school for their continued unwavering efforts to propel the student body at Pilibos to excel and advance academically.

At the conclusion of the groundbreaking ceremony–Berberian pointed out that the $2 million project was a massive undertaking for the school and its community of students–teachers–staff–parents–alumni–community organizations and volunteers.

He announced that several events were scheduled to promote the project–and to raise much-needed funds for the successful completion of the construction.

Also attending the groundbreaking ceremony were regional and local representatives of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation–the Armenian Relief Society–the Homenetmen–the Hamazkayin–as well as members of the Western Prelacy Executive Council–the St. Garabed Armenian Church Board of Trustees and the Armenian Educational Foundation.

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