The new gymnasium of the Epreskert Primary School in Debrecen was inaugurated in the presence of  State Secretary for Sports of the Ministry of Defence, Ádám Schmidt on the 24th of April 2024.

Head of school, Csilla Gondáné Fórián welcomed the participants to the event. As she said, “a long-awaited dream came true today. The school has been waiting for the completion of the gym for more than two decades, and now the pupils will be able to move, play sports and train in decent conditions. Sport has played a very important role in her life, and still does, so she knows that the joy of movement is a great experience in every child’s life, and that the personality of the PE teachers is a decisive factor in their lives”.  She expressed her hope that more future competitors who will be able to represent our country at the European Games, European Championships, World Games, World Championships, and possibly the Olympics will be able to exercise, play sports, and train within these walls.

Secretary of State for Sport of the Ministry of Defence Ádám Schmidt emphasised that as a sports leader it is always a special feeling to arrive in the city, because it is obvious that the sports life here is developing step by step, and the wide spectrum of the sports world is unique in Hungary. All of this would not be possible if the city were not headed by a mayor who loves and supports sport, and if the Member of Parliament for this region were not equally committed to sport. As he recalled, he had recently visited Debrecen on the occasion of the women’s handball team’s Olympic qualifying tournament. And it is partly thanks to the city that we have the support we needed to achieve the success we had hoped for, and after twenty years we will have four teams in Paris for the Olympic Games. During the series of events of the Olympic qualifiers, a new program of sports management appeared, which was launched in September 2023, called the Sporting Nation Program. In the framework of this, they want to draw the attention of as many of our compatriots as possible to the fact that regular exercise can provide them with a different quality of life, and that sport is perhaps the most effective character-shaping force. The state secretary quoted  our Olympic bronze medalist swimmer, Boglárka Kapás, who says that sport teaches us about life, teaches us to fight, teaches us to win, and teaches us to lose. But it’s also clear that only those who humbly work their way through the career they have been destined for can stand on the podium. So according to Boglárka Kapás, you have to fight. Addressing the children present, Ádám Schmidt added, “Believe in what you do and do what you believe in”. As he explained, he wants all young people to believe that playing sports is good, that they can be healthier through sports, that sports teach you things and values that will help you in struggles and challenges throughout your life. And if young people believe that it is good to play sports, and it is good if sports become a part of their lives, then they have already done a lot for the Hungarian nation. The primary task is to create and provide opportunities for as many young people as possible to be able to play sports in cultivated conditions within the framework of everyday physical education and beyond. And in addition to children, this fantastic gymnasium will also serve the needs of the residents of the Southern part of the city for community sports.  Ádám Schmidt wished the city sport-filled weekdays and happy, smiling, healthy Debrecen residents. 

Mayor László Papp said ‘”Debrecen is a city which, sometimes step by step, realises dreams which may not have been fulfilled in the past years or decades. Now we have created something new, which will really serve both the students of the school and the people living in the southern part of the city in their sporting activities. The Mayor indicated that this development has a relatively long history. Former director of the school Gyula Szabó, who was also a representative of this part of the city, fought for the construction of this gymnasium for three decades. In 2018,  when the general assembly decided that this gym should be built and that the city should turn to the government for support, because we are talking about a development on such a scale that government support is absolutely necessary, then Gyula Szabó took stock and said during his work as a representative, he discussed more than five thousand agenda points as a member of the city assembly, but this is the most important for him”. László Papp thanked Gyula Szabó for tirelessly fighting for this cause, and now this school can boast the most beautiful and modern gym in the Debrecen education system. And the mayor thanked the residents of the Southern part of the city and the children for their patience, for waiting for this moment that arrived after a difficult process that was fraught with several obstacles. This facility is not a simple gymnasium, but a sports hall and an event hall, which can serve all the sports needs of the children and the residents of the district. László Papp quoted the words of Henry Ford, which are absolutely correct in relation to sports, “Whether you think you can do it or not – you will be right.” “This is also true for this development.  We believed that we would be able to do it, and the moment will come when we can celebrate the creation of this new facility, and we did not give up, we did not think that we would never be able to do this, “ the Mayor said. László Papp wished the children and students who will now occupy this hall to enjoy every minute of their time here.  As he said, as a primary school student, the highlight of the day was always when physical education class came next. He loved sports,  “I played soccer, handball, basketball, did long jump, ran, so I did everything that a teenage child can do in the field of sports. And this love remained, and I feel good about the fact that students can take possession of such a sports facility,” László Papp said. At the same time, he also wished the residents of the district, regardless of their age, to be able to use the hall for sports. A healthy life is very important and exercise is one of the prerequisites for it. Debrecen is a sporty city, and the Move Debrecen! movement has succeeded in getting tens of thousands of people moving. Now everything is in place to get the people of the Southern part of the city moving.

As Director of the Debrecen School District Centre László Türk said, he has a personal connection to this institution, the Epreskert Primary School saw him grow up as a teacher, as a leader, as a person. The City of Debrecen and the Debrecen School District Centre have worked hand in hand to ensure that the children who study here are given the maximum opportunity in all areas of education to be the best at what they are talented at. “Today we celebrate another such opportunity. We are opening a gymnasium. Debrecen gave us a house, and we are making it a home. I thank the city for supporting education, for supporting children to get a quality education in Debrecen,” László Türk said. He then thanked Gyula Szabó and, together with Mayor László Papp,handed over a commemorative plaque symbolising the gymnasium to the school’s director.

Gyula Szabó recalled that the story of the Epreskert school’s exercise room, which grew into a gymnasium, began 27 years ago, in 1996. The gymnasium of the Epreskert school, as an expression, has become synonymous with patience, endurance and faith over time. The gymnasium has now been built, and it needs to be filled with life and turned into a community space. For this, he wished both the current director of the school and the municipal representative of the district good luck. Gyula Szabó said, “fate takes away with one hand, but gives with the other”. Although he, as an active director, was not able to hand over the gymnasium, his grandson will start his studies here as a first grader this September. “What I didn’t get as a director, I got as a grandfather. It’s a happy moment for me,” he said.

For the municipal representative of the district, Zoltán Piros the Epreskert gymnasium is a symbol. It is a symbol of how Debrecen’s leadership can respond to crises. History gives us many, many examples of this. After the Battle of Mohács, when the country was invaded by the Turks and devastated by civil war, the town’s leadership founded a college. After the First World War, we also experienced crises, and then the city developed a university. A few years ago, we experienced crises again, a health crisis and different types of economic crises. The city also built and developed during this period. A doctor’s office was renovated in Tégláskert, a kindergarten and a nursery school were built, roads were paved with asphalt, a sidewalk was built to connect Epreskert  and Tégláskert and a new bus line was established to connect Tégláskert to the Western and Northern parts of the city. And the Epreskert gymnasium was also built,  a symbol of development, the meeting point for communities wishing to play sports in Tégláskert, Epreskert, and Boldogfalvi kert. The representative thanked the government, the member of parliament, the mayor and the executive director for making the creation of this symbol possible.

The building has a useful floor area of 1,819.5 square metres, including a gymnasium with a net floor area of 1,026.2 square metres. The playing area can be divided into two parts by a motorised screen, the larger of which has a free playing area of 26.0×37.6 metres. The hall is also equipped with a 200-seat mobile grandstand. The foyer, which also connects to the school building, is both a functional walkway and a play area for the children. It also opens onto the changing block,  with a total of 64 seats, water blocks and a fully accessible changing room, as well as a canteen and cloakroom. A sports equipment storage room , a fitness room, and first aid station were built.For the PE teachers, a 2-2 changing room with water blocks has been created. The project was implemented with the assistance of the State Secretariat for Sport of the Ministry of Defence, with financial support from the Hungarian Government. The Government has granted the Municipality of Debrecen a subsidy of HUF 1,025,844,147 for the construction of the building. Due to the increase in the cost of construction materials and the need to remedy soil contamination, additional resources were required, and in addition to the grant, an additional HUF 450,503,847 of own resources were needed to complete the project.


Author: Debrecen4U