In early 1978, the Council confirmed it would be building a Roman Catholic Secondary School in Blantyre. The school was much needed and was to lessen overcrowding at John Ogilvie, letting pupils in Blantyre attend a school, far easier to travel to.
Budgets were set aside, but the plan was controversial, due to the proposed location of the school. During the last week in March 1978, a report was published pointing out that there would be considerable problems if the new RC School was built on the proposed site.
The problem was the site at Thornhill Avenue, just wasn’t large enough and the plan was to split the school into two locations. One at Thornhill Avenue, the other in fields between Glasgow Road and Farm Road, almost a quarter of a mile apart. Although the school would accommodate 940 pupils, there were fears that splitting the school was not ideal and concerns were growing about the amount of traffic on an already busy Glasgow Road.
Local R.C residents were pushing for spare ground at Calrowrie Avenue to be used to build the school, but whilst there was enough room for one school, there was not enough room for playing fields or carparks. This option was not popular with Hamilton District Council who had already allocated this site for a new community or leisure centre, one which would eventually become TACT Hall.
Decisions were again put off that Spring, despite the urgency for a final decision and pupils that year continued to go to John Ogilvie. As we know, the RC Secondary school never got off the ground in Blantyre.
I have my own opinion about what was going on in these years and think the council was desperately trying to save money, by leaning towards an expansion of John Ogilvie, rather than building the new school, but knew how unpopular that news would have been. Looking at the huge piece of land near TACT hall, i have no idea why a secondary school wasn’t built there. There was more than enough space (in my opinion!) and Blantyre lost out on an RC Secondary school.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017
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