SCHOOL BUILDINGThe historical school building from the early 20th century can be found outside of the historical city centre on the very western edge of the monument zone. Due to its size the building partially does not fit in the urban and architectural structure of the burgher houses in the monument area.
During the Austro-Hungarian monarchy there were three elementary schools in Rajec – two Christian and one that belonged to the local Jewish religious community. At the end of the 19th century the Catholic school with only two classes and two teaching flats was in a very poor technical condition and was not sufficient to meet the ever-increasing number of pupils. Therefore it was demolished in July 1902 and the construction of a larger school building immediately began at its place. Despite the initial financial problems, in October of the same year the new school was built and teaching could begin, albeit only temporarily. The school was completed and furnished in 1903. This impressive building was almost sixty meters long. In its outer floors there were two teachers’ flats. Each apartment had two rooms, a kitchen and a pantry. On the floor there were five classrooms, a teachers’ room and a cabinet. The architecture of the school and the historicist expression of its facade fully corresponded to the time of its origin where reminiscences of older stylistic periods prevailed. The facade was decorated with richly profiled crown and cordon cornices, sash window framing and a linear and corner bossage in the plaster on the entire ground floor. An interesting architectural element of the front façade was its highlighting by a decorative central attic gable ending with a small square turret with a cross. At the time of its construction, a memorial plaque in Hungarian was installed in the façade (in translation: “Built on the site of the previous school building with the help of Imrich Bende – the Bishop of Nitra, Roman Catholics of Rajec, Karol Baroš – the priest of Rajec, and the secular chairman of the ecclesiastic territorial administration Ferdinand Pokorný in 1902”).
The school remained intact until 1970. At that time in January a fire damaged the roof and almost the entire ground floor of the building. Although the classrooms were not seriously damaged and the roof was easy to repair, the then state authorities decided to demolish the entire ground floor and replace it with a new building without any historical decorative elements. The decision probably stemmed from the need to increase the number of classes and set up a nine-year primary school there. However, its completion in 1973 partially devalued the original architectural qualities of the building and changed its historical look. Fortunately, the side floors of the school have retained their original expression to this day. In 1992 two primary schools in the city were merged and a Catholic school – Primary School of St. J. Vianney – was established in the building. The school was originally founded by the diocese of Nitra and after its establishment by the diocese of Žilina. Jean Maria Vianney (1786 – 1859) was a French priest who was canonized by the pope in 1925 and became the patron saint of clergy and confessors.
The school building which is located along the main state road I / 64 (Kostolná Street) has retained much of its original urban and architectural qualities despite major structural modifications in the early 1970s. Although it is not a national cultural monument, it is an important and irreplaceable part of the Rajec monument zone.