Fundraiser held for Lower Dublin Academy

The Albanian-American Social-Cultural Organization, the new owners of Lower Dublin Academy, hosted a cookout and introduced themselves to the community last weekend.

Welcome to the neighborhood: Tajar Domi (left) and Luka Lakuriqi discuss future plans for the former Lower Dublin Academy building at 3322 Willits Road during a fundraiser last weekend. LOGAN KRUM / TIMES PHOTO

The Albanian-American Social-Cultural Organization, recent purchasers of Lower Dublin Academy, this weekend held a cookout and fundraiser at the historic school, 3322 Willits Road.

Upward of 65 people were present to hear speeches from board leaders and community members, with many more coming and going throughout the event held from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday.

“They are happy with us, and we are happy with them,” said AASCO chairman Tajar Domi of the community who showed up to support them.

The building was open for touring after the AASCO said they moved 16 truckloads of trash from the premises. Domi said there are still hopes to reopen the building as a school by fall of next year, but they are still too early in the planning process to have a solid timeline.

AASCO is currently stationed at 5043 Torresdale Ave. The school will teach around 55 students Albanian language and culture for 1–5 grade aged students, as well as offering adult classes. Classes will happen on the weekends.

Current plans for the building include classrooms on the first floor and an office on the third floor, as well as a cafeteria, and museum and exhibition rooms showcasing American history. Domi said there will be a whole room dedicated to Thomas Holme and William Penn.

LOGAN KRUM / TIMES PHOTO

“A lot of ideas are in the air because we’re still trying to absorb this,” Domi said. “What is important is the building will remain intact and its history will be preserved forever. This is open to all, not just us.”

Designer Luka Lakuriqi displayed potential design artwork for the outside of the building and the surrounding lot.

Representatives for Holme Circle and Upper Holmesburg civic associations were present among other community organizations. Fred Moore, treasurer of Friends of Northeast Philadelphia History, presented Domi with a book about Lower Dublin Academy written by Samuel C. Willits around 1890. Willits, who is the namesake of Willits Road, was a trustee and historian of the academy. He handwrote A History of Lower Dublin Academy, and FNPH transcribed its 450 pages and published copies of the book. The book will be used in the building’s museum.

LOGAN KRUM / TIMES PHOTO

FNPH was named Friends of Lower Dublin Academy until about five years ago. The trustees of Lower Dublin Academy sold the building to the city in 1905, meaning the current trustees could not preserve it. Moore said the building being bought is “tremendous.”

Visitors were treated to salad, hot dogs, hamburgers, gyros and more. Domi gave special thanks to the board members and volunteers who worked hard to clean out the building before the event.

“It was a very good first introduction to the neighborhood because today was really about getting to know the neighbors,” Domi said. “This center will be for us and for them.” ••

LOGAN KRUM / TIMES PHOTO