In 1978, it was agreed in March that some money would be put into the 1978/1979 Council budget to at least let the long awaited Blantyre Sports Centre get started.
The budget for that year had just £126,000 set aside to get the work started. The latest council estimate for the whole building at that time was £875,000 but that was being reviewed constantly, the cost rising every few months.
The Sports centre had been proposed as early as 1970, the swimming pool as early as 1973 so it was a great relief to many people in Blantyre to finally hear the news that work would get started. Councillor George McInally said, “It has been a long wait but we know the town is definitely getting a centre and a start has been made. There will be a 6,325 square foot sports hall with a swimming pool around 25 yards long x 12.5 yards wide.”
In addition, costs permitting, the council hoped to build a small training pool, or children’s pool, a sauna suite, a restaurant, a cafe above the pool, a lounge, a small gym, offices as well as the necessary changing rooms.
In 1978, planners changed the location of the Sports Centre from the East end of John Street (where Devlin Grove now is), over to the West side of John Street in its present location. This was done to let the Sports Centre be part of the newly landscaped Stonefield Park and Glasgow Road. The space created on the east side of John Street was earmarked for housing.
During 1978, it was admitted by Architects that plans were somewhat lavish, and a series of cuts were made to save on the escalating costs. Removal of the separate restaurant was implemented by proposing to make the cafe sell a wider variety of food. Plans for the separate lounge were dropped altogether.
In 1978, work was done to install foundations , run in electricity and water services, although Councillors high hopes of the whole centre being opened in 1979, were not to be met.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017
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