Renovated gymnasium to be returned to Árpád Secondary School in Óbuda

Hungarian version of the article: Visszakapja nagy tornatermét az Óbudai Árpád Gimnázium

April 24, 2021 at 2:00 PM

The renovation of Óbuda Árpád Secondary School's gymnasium is progressing well. Through the investment, the school will regain its former large gymnasium, which was given to the Ottó Bláthy Polytechnic in 1965 and converted into a lecture hall. The school was left with a smaller gymnasium.

The decision to renovate Óbuda Árpád Secondary School's gymnasium was reached at the end of last summer. Following the planning and permitting procedures, the work is progressing well, with the investment doubling the size of the school's PE spaces. 

Construction of the gym of Óbuda Árpád Secondary School (Source: Mihály Varga Facebook page)

As part of the investment, a lift will be built in the school, making the building wheelchair-accessible, wrote Mihály Varga, Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament, on his Facebook page.

The gymnasium will be twice as large as the current floor space (Source: Mihály Varga Facebook page)

The predecessor of today's Ópuda Árpád Secondary School opened in September 1902 as a branch school of the 5th District State High School. As the school did not have its own independent building, the civic and elementary school at 12 Tímár Street housed the first class, which began in the 1902/03 school year. In the  1904/05 academic year, the school became an independent institution in the 3rd District as the Royal Hungarian State High School.

It was decided that the residential building at 114 Zsigmond Street (now Zsigmond tér) would be remodelled and rented for the institution in the long term. However, the building was not built for educational purposes. Despite the remodelling, teaching took place in small and low classrooms, with students navigating narrow stairwells. The room designated as a gymnasium was dark and airless.

Today's Árpád Secondary School in Óbuda operated in the former building at 114 Zsigmond Street between 1905 and 1940 (Source: FSZEK Budapest Collection)

The grammar school took the name Árpád in 1921. Then in 1924, the Árpád Grammar School was transformed into a secondary school specialising in the sciences. While the school was operating successfully, its placement was still unresolved, and the building on Zsigmond Street became dangerous.

The Ministry of Religion and Public Education launched a design tender to construct a new, independent school building. Construction on the plot bordered by Nagyszombat, Zápor, Szőlő and Viador Streets began in September 1938 following plans by Lajos Hidasi and Imre Papp. 

The school moved into the new building on Nagyszombat Street in 1940 (Source: Lechner Knowledge Center)

The building is divided into three parts: the main facade of the three-storey building faces Nagyszombat Street, and the two-storey building faces Zápor Street. The Head Teachers apartment and an art room were built in 1940 as a one-storey wing on Viador Street. The new high school building also had two gyms that could be connected.

The part of the building facing Viador Street was the art room (Source: Lechner Knowledge Center)

On the corner of Nagyszombat and Zápor streets, the façade is decorated with reliefs referring to the eponymous leader Árpád. On the ground floor, the princes of the conquered peoples pay their respects to Árpád, on the first floor the Blood Contract and on the second floor Emese's Dream. They were carved by the sculptor István Rumi Rajki (1881–1941).

The princes of the conquered peoples pay their respects to Árpád; the relief is the work of sculptor István Rumi Rajki  

The school’s students and faculty did not long enjoy the new building. During World War II, the building suffered severe damage. Teachers, students and volunteers began to clear the rubble. They painted the rooms and repaired the furniture.

In the 1950s, first, the Árpád Workers' Grammer School and then the Ottó Bláthy Industrial Technical School were moved in, and many classrooms and service rooms were handed over to them at the expense of the high school. Among other things, part of the famous gymnasium was added to the technical school in 1965 and converted into a lecture hall.

Then in 1967, the polytechnic took the name of Kálmán Kandó and became a technical college. It was also given ownership of the building, and the grammar school became a “subtenant” in its own building. The situation was only resolved in 2005 when the college moved out following a decision reached in 1995. 

The college managed the building from 1967 onwards (Source: Fortepan/No.: 178872)

For some years now, partly with government support and partly with funding from the local council, major renovations have been carried out on the listed building, including the façade and windows.

Cover photo: The facade of the Óbuda Árpád Secondary School on Nagyszombat Street

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