Historic Rudbārži Manor modernization to cost 13 million euros

Preparatory work for the start of the renovation of historic Rudbārži Manor have taken longer than originally expected, so its use as a military academy by the Colonel Oskars Kalpaks Vocational High School could only start in September 2026, reports Latvian Radio. 

For now, the school with a military orientation continues its activities in Kandava, and currently 94 students study there. The process of restoration and reconstruction of dilapidated Rudbärži Manor could start next year, and 13 million euros are earmarked for the purpose. Before the start of reconstruction works, the building of the former elementary school must have a functioning heating system, and its surroundings must be maintained.

Rudbārži Manor is a cultural monument of national importance with a rich history and a unique oak parquet floor. pattern can be found. The manor building and its surroundings have been under the control of the Ministry of Defense for several years now.

"It's a good historical place with added value, Oskars Kalpaks' battalion was stationed there in 1919. Then the decision was made not quickly, but in a specific time frame. Now we can already say that we have moved forward, and this is a great joint effort," said Loreta Robežniece, the former chairman of the Skrunda county council. Oskars Kalpaks was the first commander-in-chief of the Latvian Armed Forces, killed in action in 1919.

Ahead of the upcoming construction, which is likely to begin next year, the premises have been vacated, and the cadets of the Young Guard, which used it for several years, also moved out. Robežniece, who currently fulfills the duties of an operational engineer of the State Defense Military Facilities and Procurement Center said: "As the managers of this building, we are currently doing everything to ensure that the building is maintained, minimally heated. An area of ​​more than 5 hectares is also being cleaned."

Rooms will be modernised

The number of rooms in the main school building is deemed insufficient, so a service hotel will be built in the old apple orchard of the estate. The gymnasium building and sports field will be rebuilt. It is intended that the classrooms and premises be suitable for the needs of teachers in modern conditions, said the director of the Colonel Oskars Kalpaks Vocational High School, Intars Kušners.

"An attic floor will be added to the manor, the third floor, an attic conversion is planned. There will be classrooms and additional rooms for teachers and instructors. There will also be an elevator. These are requirements to ensure mobility within the school. It will be outside and will not affect the structure of the building," he said.

Kušners revealed that the manor building will get another hall back: "One hall will be restored in the initial stage, as it was divided into small rooms. We hope to arrange another room in the basement as a small local history museum, where the traditions of the school will be preserved."

The head of the personnel department of the Ministry of Defense, Roberts Skraučs, explained to Latvian Radio that the development of the construction project was carried out by the Ozola & Bula architectural bureau and at the moment the final preparations are underway so that construction can start next year: "So far, a construction project has been developed and approved, which cost more than 184.5 thousand euros. Work is now underway to finalize the procurement documents in order to announce the procurement for the construction works at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year."

The Ministry said that in fact there have not been delays with the project as such but that it is an old building and unforeseen circumstances maycan arise, so there will be challenges. The building was also scanned in 3D, Skraučs said: "It must be admitted that Rudbārži Manor is special. The assessment of the building's condition probably took longer, but it cannot be said that the schedule was delayed and something was missed."

The total planned costs for the construction works at Rudbārži Manor and its adaptation to the needs of the school are approximately 13 million euros. If what is planned happens as hoped, then the Colonel Oskars Kalpaks Vocational High School could start teaching there in September 2026.

Providing a cautionary note is this very similar report from 2022 saying that the renvations would soon be under way and the school would open in 2024.


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