::           Opening The Town Hall Tower 17.11.2012          

Forty Years of Making Efforts (1967-2010)

After the Town Hall Tower collapsed through the next years its reconstruction wasn't particularly promoted by the authorities of Świdnica.

It resulted from several aspects. Getting back to the subject of restoration of the Town Hall Tower was rather inconvenient with regard to culpable carelessness which caused the disaster and as a result the authority didn't have a high opinion. The next thing was the issue of financing the reconstruction in question. Many years of negligence within the scope of municipal infrastructure caused that the authorities of Świdnica were supposed to solve numerous urgent problems and the reconstruction of the Town Hall Tower wasn't one of them.

Was the issue forgotten? Certainly it wasn't forgotten by a huge group of residens of Świdnica who remembered the tower and were emotionally associated with this building as the town's symbol and never lost their hope that some day it will surely be reconstructed. Anyway, at the moment of the disaster a lot of people declared support for the reconstruction initiative also in a practical manner. It will be enough to mention Roman Norbert who was the initiator of protecting the Gothic arch that survived. In voluntary action the brick walls protecting the arch were built and flat roof was made of reinforced concrete slabs. On the flat roof brick balustrade was placed which was demolished in the 80s (and cannot be found on photographs from the 80s) and replaced wih temporary wooden roof.

The authorities of the town didn't do a lot apart from removing traces of disaster. The fact is that just after the disaster it was announced that the tower would be reconstructed within 1-2 years (its cost was estimated as 1,2 mln zlotys) however these were only empty declarations. From time to time media reminded of the tower, particularly on the occasion of successive anniversaries of disaster. It wasn't before the end of the 70s that thanks to social initiatives people started to touch upon a question of the necessity to reconstruct the town's symbol. Krystyna Juszkiewicz, who performed the function of municipal building conservation officer, initiated the public discussion and as presented in „Trybuna Wałbrzyska” (in October 1979) she informed that Architecture Research Lab in Wrocław started to collect historic architectural documentation preceding the preparation of construction process specifications of the reconstruction in question. She also appealed to all persons possessing any iconography for making it available for the needs of the project.

The 80s were the most serious spurt of community of Świdnica in favour of reconstructing the Town Hall Tower. On the 18th November 1983 during the meeting of the Regional Association of the Świdnica Land it was suggested that the authorities of the town undertook actions in favour of reconstructing the Town Hall Tower. In 1984 architectural project was ready, however considering impossibility of financing the entire investment out of the town's budget it was decided to launch a public fund-raising campaign and ask the establishments of Świdnica to provide their assistance. On the 29th January 1985 the Social Committee of the Reconstruction of the Town Hall Tower was appointed. A large-scale fund-raising campaign was launched. The initiator of reconstructing the Town Hall Tower was Stiepanow who was untiringly lobbying in favour of materializing the idea of restoring the Town Hall Tower. Within the framework of social actions an occasional 1985 calendar was published, 25 thousand of street collection money (their nominal value being 100 – 10.000 zlotys) was printed free of charge which was supervised by Ryszard Lange, the director of printing-office in Świdnica and it was Stanisław Szeleźnik who made a money-box which stood in Market Square.

Establishments and institutions were ready to help. The Industrial Equipment Plant in Świdnica was supposed to manufacture a cupola and the branch of Voivodeship Design Office prepared initial documentation and estimate of costs free of charge, craftsmen from Świdnica were supposed to provide installations in the tower as well as stonework free of charge and military unit of the Polish Army and National Fire Service were supposed to help in transporting the materials. In 1988 Przedsiębiorstwo Państwowe Pracownie Konserwacji Zabytków from Wrocław supervised by architect Lech Stanisz completed the preparation of construction process specifications which established the reconstruction of the Town Hall Tower in traditional method - out of brick and with reinforced concrete ceilings. Unfortunately, the most significant aspect of the entire undertaking – the financial aspect – became invalid due to crisis at the turn of the 80s and 90s. The investment (its value being 40 mln zlotys) planned to be commenced in 1990 wasn't implemented. The inflation drastically decreased the value of shares collected in social fund-raising campaign. After denomination in January 1995 the value of street collection money was too high to be sold and the money-box which stood by the entrance to Munucipal Theatre was destroyed (money was managed to be protected).

In 1992 at the request of the authorities of the town the next tower's design – having more innovative character and appearance was presented by private design office „Atut” from Wrocław. It was prepared by a group supervised by architect Leszek Szostak including architect Waldemar Skórski who – fifteen years later – as the deputy mayor of Świdnica successfully led to its reconstruction. An innovative approach to the issue of the tower's appearance and a great departure from its traditional appearance – among others using gratings on the tower's facade, four glazed external lifts as well as huge glazed surface to watch the panorama of the town caused that the design was considered to be too innovative and controversial. The discussions on how the tower should look like lasted two years. Anyway, the discussions were extremely significant due to the fact that to some extent they presented a social demand for the tower. Traditionalists perceived it as the same it was before the disaster so generally speaking – as a building which would only perform the function of dominant of the Market Square and its architectural completion. The idea presented referring to some extent to reconstruction of the Town Hall Tower from before the disaster provided a foundation of the design prepared by Pracownia Konserwacji Zabytków in 1988. The design of „Atut” design office presented innovative approach to the issue, with considerably greater usefulness of the building. There is much to be said for younger generation of the residents of Świdnica who certainly didn't remember the block of „old” tower and for whom the idea of fully useful tower with viewing terraces, cafes, etc. could be even more attractive than for traditionalists.

Despite the fact that in May 1994 the modified design was finally ready and into the arch of the tower which survived the disaster the foundation act was embedded and this time the investment - again due to high costs - wasn't successful. When two years later the construction permit referring to the tower expired, the issue was closed for ten years. The idea to reconstruct the Town Hall Tower returned in 2008. It was possible and more attainable than whenever in the last 40 years, first of all due to the change of conditions determining the financial aspect of the investment thanks to implementing Regional Operational Programme for Dolnośląskie Voivodship for the years 2007-2013 „Rehabilitation of degraded urban areas in Dolnośląskie (“Towns”), Action 9.1 Renewal of degraded urban areas in cities of over 10 thousand residents”. It made it possible to receive a subsidy for investments and undertakings within this scope out of European Union funds. In accordance with preliminary estimates the initial investment cost was supposed to amount to 10 mln zlotys and after reduction – 6 mln and 600 thousand zlotys. Finally, its total value in the stage of investment planning and signing the contract with the Marshal Office of Dolnośląskie Voivodship on the 29th March 2010 amounted to 8 mln 101 thousand 110 zlotys and 9 grosze and the subsidy out of European Union funds – 5 mln 664 thousand 233 zlotys and 47 grosze.

As a result of tendering procedure for completion of the project and technical documentation of the tower, as invited for on the 17th April 2009, the preparation of the tower's design and detailed design documentation was commissioned to „Walas” Sp. z o.o. from Bielany Wrocławskie managing business enterprise within the scope of building, urban planning and technical design. According to the design of „Walas” Sp. z o.o. famous complex Sky Tower in Wrocław with the highest building in Poland was built. The group of architects included Zbigniew Walas (designer), Krzysztof Wrzos (leading designer), Amelia Czubiel, Paweł Sobański and Tomasz Szmit. An order for preparation of the design and documentation was signed on the 13th July 2009 and it was as early as on the 15th October that it was possible to receive technical documentation. It was prepared rapidly which arouse from the fact that the investor – the Town of Świdnica – was supposed to consider the time schedule due to the subsidy from the Marshal Office of Dolnośląskie Voivodship. At the very beginning of 2010 the Municipal Office in Świdnica commenced the works on elaborating the terms of reference concurrently preparing to the invitation for public tender. In accordance with the documentation prepared it comprised not only the renovation of the tower itself but also the renovation of entrance pavilion as well as managing the internal courtyard of Mid-Market block alongside with indispensable infrastructure as far as concerns terminals. The tender was announced on the 26th March 2010 and two companies bidded. The tender was decided on the 19th May 2010 in which „Budobratex” from Legnica won and as a result the contract for implementing the investment was signed.

In the tendering procedure the amount of 1,5 mln zlotys lower than the amount expected was obtained. René Maczura became the building site manager and Zbigniew Skąpski – the investment supervisor.

Selecting the company from Legnica to perform the work as some people noticed – to some extent stapled the several decades' period of non-existence of the Town Hall Tower. In 1967 due to inconsiderate demolition works conducted by the branch of Wojewódzkie Przedsiębiorstw Robót Elewacyjnych, Porządkowych i Produkcji Pomocniczej in Legnica the tower collapsed and also thanks to it the tower was supposed to be reconstructed. The Old Town of Świdnica resembling proverbial ship without mast was supposed to regain its dominant role.

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