Pałac obecnie. Fot. UM Pniewy

Renovation of the Szołdrski Palace in Pniewy. The secondary school building is as beautiful as before

The Pniewy Palace, which is the seat of the Pniewy High School, is one of the most valuable and oldest monuments in the town. The school is located at the entrance to the town, where it ideally functions as its business card. Bitten by the teeth of time, the historic building underwent a comprehensive refurbishment between 2020 and 2021, which restored it to its former glory.

The Pniewy palace was built between 1739 and 1756 for Władysław Szołdrski, who at the time served as starosta general of Wielkopolska. The main builder of the late Baroque residence was Franciszek Hancke from Leszno. The building owes its present appearance to a reconstruction commissioned by the von Massenbach family in 1872.

The palace in Pniewy in 1890. Photo: Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

Pałac w Pniewach

The building has three floors and the same number of risalits in the front façade, which are topped with Baroque gables. The gables bear coats of arms. The central gable depicts the Łodzia coat of arms and the date of construction of the palace, and above them is a decoration in the form of a stork’s nest. Adjoining the main body are two side wings enclosing a small courtyard. One of the risalits houses the main entrance, while the other with a stone porch adorns the garden façade. The impression of the uniqueness of this storey is enhanced by three tall decorative windows ending in a half arch and decorative infill. The palace is set in a park, surrounded by rich greenery that in summer captures the full character of the place.

The high school in the former palace, late 1960s/early 1970s and 2019. Photo: Mariusz Brzezinski – private collection and Krzysztof Golik, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The estate remained in the hands of the Massenbach family until 1945. After the war, the former landed estate was taken and parcelled out by the Polish Treasury. The history of the Pniew High School also begins in the same period. At that time, the mayor Bolesław Białecki and the Municipal Board set about organising the school, assigning the baroque palace as its seat. The Ursuline nuns provided the teachers, and Sister Józefa Ledóchowska became the principal of the Municipal Co-educational Gymnasium. The beginnings were very difficult. The building was in need of renovation and equipment, but from the very first days the school undertook vibrant activities, including extracurricular activities.

Pałac w Pniewach
Palace today. Photo: Emilia Sczaniecka High School in Pniewy

In 1948, MA Maksymilian Józefiak became the headmaster of the school, at which time its new name was established as Miejska Szkoła Ogólnokształcąca stopnia licealnego in Pniewy. The school received the rights of a state school. In January 1950, the city authorities handed the school over to the Ministry of Education, which – by a decree of 14 April 1950. – It established the State School of the secondary level. In the 1950s, the building was completely renovated. In June 1980, it was named after Emilia Sczaniecka. A bust of the patroness made by the school’s graduate, Jerzy Sobociński, was erected in front of the high school building. In 2001 the schools were merged: General Secondary School and Vocational School Complex into one under the name of E. Sczaniecka School Complex. Since 2011 the post of headmaster has been held by Izabela Ratajczak.

Palace in Pniewy in 2014 and 2023. Photo Takasamarasa, CC BY-SA 3.0 PL, via Wikimedia Commons and Anna Fliger

The modernisation of the building started in 2020 and all construction work was completed at the end of 2021. The task included the execution of the works under the ‘design and build’ system. The extensive activities included, among other things : renovation of the façade, waterproofing, damp proofing and a gravel band around the building, replacement of lighting fixtures mounted to the building façade and landscaping works around the building. The scope of work also included repairs to the stairs leading up to the building and the floors on the landings in front of the entrance. However, the renovation did not concern the window and door frames, the roof, the lightning protection system and the rainwater downpipes from the roof. These elements were renovated and replaced as part of another comprehensive task entitled ‘Deep thermo-modernisation of public buildings’. The renovation work carried out on the palace has been recognised and was thus among the nominees in the ‘Monument Zadbany’ competition in 2022.

The former palace of the Szołdrski family once again looks like it did in its glory years, and is the pride of the town of Pniewy and the school’s students and teachers.

INVESTOR: Pniewy Municipal Office
CONTRACTOR: GRAEB Przedsiębiorstwo Drogowe Pniewy
Constructo Sp. z o.o. Sp.k. Lubicz
DESIGNER: Matyja and Ritter Architekt i Inżynier Budownictwa Spółka Partnerska Poznań
Nuvarro Sp. z o.o. Posada

Source: Emilii Sczanieckiej School Complex in Pniewy,

Read also: Architecture | Renovation | Palace | Architecture in Poland | Villas and residences

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