Primary and Senior School for Boys and Girls, today Zlín Club 204

Date 1897
Architect Dominik Fey
Code Z1
Address třída Tomáše Bati 204, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: Náměstí Míru (TROL 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, BUS 31, 32, 33, 35, 36, 53, 70, 90)
GPS 49.2251697N, 17.6656944E

The possibility of establishing a senior school in Zlín was discussed among local representatives in connection with the amendment of the Austro-Hungarian Education Act as early as 1872. It took 25 long years before a new neoclassical building was built, which, from the beginning of the 20th Century, can be seen in period photographs to dominate a small Moravian town. The idea of a senior school was rejected by the provincial school council for the first time in 1875, following attempts in 1883 and 1891 were to no avail either. Consent was finally given in 1893. In the meantime, a growing number of pupils were educated in makeshift classrooms in house no. 174 and in a two-storey municipal school (now demolished) located near the church of St. Jacob. 
The first design for the new school was done in 1895 by architects Vojtěch Dvořák and Karel Welzl from Brno. According to the brief they received from councillors, their task was to prepare a building in which the school, town hall and district court could operate. This requirement was mainly due to the limited financial resources of the city, for which the construction of two new buildings would have been too demanding. A plot was selected on Hlavní náměstí (now náměstí Míru), on the site of the current town hall designed a few years later by F. L. Gahura. When reviewing the plans in 1895, the school board rejected the plan of the multipurpose building conceived in this way, with a recommendation to build a separate school in another suitable place.
Behind the plans from 1896 was a newly-qualified architect, Dominik Fey, from Uherské Hradiště, who, unlike his colleagues, who designed a school building costing 700 gold coins, proposed a school with a budget of 300 gold coins. For the young architect, the public construction contract was an opportunity to make his newly set up studio visible to other clients. In Zlín, a new public savings bank was also being built on the Main Square. The Zlín senior school was conceived as a spatially closed two-storey building with a roofed atrium in the popular neoclassical style. In the middle axis of the front façade there is a flat three-axis avant corps with two entrances on the sides, the facade is decorated with a bossage in the lower part. The house, with an almost rectangular floor plan, has a symmetrical layout based on the department of girls 'and boys' schools. On the ground floor there was a janitor's apartment, two cabinets, four classes (two for boys, two for girls) and a gym. On the first floor there were six classrooms, a director's office, a store room and a drawing room, while on the second floor there were again six classrooms and a store room. Despite the financial restrictions, special attention was paid to the plastering work; for example, the entrance areas were decorated with pilasters with Corinthian capitals. The school grounds were separated from the main street by a fence wall and an entrance gate, and a statue of Emperor Francis Joseph I was installed in front of the entrance.
After 1918, the statue of the former monarch was removed and replaced with a statue of Jan Amos Comenius by F. L. Gahura. However, with the rapid development of the Baťa company, the building no longer met the capacity demands in the 1920s and 1930s. In addition, it seemed outdated in comparison with the Masaryk schools with their modern equipment. In 1935, the Komenského School moved to new premises in the Zálešná district. The building of the former senior school would serve several tenants over a period of time - the labour office, the music school, and the library. During World War II, German authorities were based there. From 1960, the building was more or less continuously used by the František Bartoš Regional Library. In 2014 this library moved to the renovated, originally production, buildings No. 14 and 15 in the factory premises. Today, the building operates under the name Club 204 as a centre for alternative culture and a meeting place for non-profit organisations. During the revitalisation of Komenského Park in 2015, an extension was built behind the former gymnasium to house a future café. However, this new space still awaits its future use; only occasionally do exhibitions and one-off social events take place here. The authors of the revitalisation are Václav Babka, Pavel Mudřík, Lucie Radilová and Zdeněk Sendler.