Between 1978 and 1983, Strathclyde Council were to spend £60m on a schools improvement programme. This included improving some of Blantyre’s schools.
Due to overcrowding and large class sizes, much of this took the form of expansion or extensions being added. A drastic solution in 1978 was to turn the former Calder Street School into a new Auchinraith Primary School. It was considered a priority in the plans and as such this was second out of 49 planned extensions throughout Lanarkshire.
Some pupils from the Auchinraith Primary School had already moved to Calder Street in 1974 due to overcrowding. The old Primary School at Craig Street was overcrowded, unsafe, required extensive modernisation and had become very dilapidated. Some youngsters had a narrow escape when a classroom ceiling collapsed on them. So, some pupils were sent to Calder Street School.
On 21st August 1978, all 6 classes were sent to Saffronhall Annexe, Hamilton to allow the £175,000 renovation and modernisation of the Calder Street building to take place (pictured that winter). On 12th June 1979, they moved back from Saffronhall into the renovated Calder Street building and on 20th June 1979 joined by the rest of the pupils from Auchinraith, all under one roof leaving the old Primary School building at the top of Craig Street to be abandoned.
An inaugural evening on 5th September 1979 allowed parents to see the Calder Street building, soon to be known as the new Auchinraith Primary.
Other plans that year included the extension of Blantyre High School and a new Roman Catholic School in Blantyre.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017
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