School buildings in Greece often suffer from structural problems and poor maintenance. Also, there are too few schools to cater for all pupils. 24 new state schools in Attica solve capacity issues, provide top-quality facilities and produce all the energy they need. The Ilion primary school, the Keratsini art school and the school at Thisio are just some of the outstanding examples.
The above headline comes from an article in Lifo magazine about a visit to an educational complex in Koropi, Greece. The complex includes a nursery, a primary school and 2 secondary schools. While the headline might sound exaggerated, what better way is there to describe Attica’s 24 ultra-modern schools built under an EU-funded project? They are models for every other school in the country.
The author details the features which make the buildings and facilities stand out from those of Greece’s more conventional educational establishments. He also refers to the impact on local communities. The sub-heading “The children respect the place because they feel respected”, clearly states what this project means for the future of young people in Greece.
Nikitas Tsirigos, headmaster of Penteli’s 2nd primary school, says that the infrastructure provided by the Attica Schools project makes his and his team’s jobs easier. “This school lets you work as a headmaster in an integrated way without worrying about the issues that concern teachers in conventional schools in Greece. There are no problems running or maintaining the school. And you don’t need to apply for things from government departments as this place provides them from the outset. So you can give your undivided attention to your job as headmaster.”
“I’ve noticed that my own job has become much easier. I can dedicate myself to what I actually need to do to run the school. And in working with the teachers, we can concentrate on education within the school,” he adds.
This project includes the building of 24 schools and 25 years’ maintenance of the buildings by the construction company for a budget of €110 million.
The schools provide top-class learning environments including special needs facilities. They have green roofs, rainwater management and water recycling systems, solar panels and floating staircases. Outer walls and floors are thermally insultated and sports areas have synthetic flooring.
Penteli Mayor Dimitris Stergiou said: “Penteli was in favour of a public-private partnership from the start. With EU funds and 13,000m² of land from the municipality, an ultra-modern 2-school complex has been created with an indoor gymnasium and 3 outdoor basketball courts.”
As the construction company maintains the schools, school boards can let out the sports facilities and multipurpose rooms. This was unthinkable before.
World Finance magazine gave the project its Education Deal of the Year award for its financing structure and specifications.