PAST and current generations of teachers and pupils returned to the old Kelso High School to witness first-hand how classrooms are now living rooms as a new 36-home extra care apartment block for older people approaches completion.

To be known as ‘Poynder Apartments’, the celebrated art deco listed school on Bowmont Street will also feature commercial facilities, such as a hairdresser’s, and create 35 much-needed jobs.

Memories were evoked by the visit to the complex overseen by Selkirk-based Eildon Housing Association in association with Kelso-based housebuilders M&J Ballantyne.

Guests included former history teacher Charlie Robertson, who was rector at the school from 1999 to 2011. He later went on to write a book called Kelso High School Memories 1939-2017.

Maths teacher and former pupil Sinclair Watson was also on hand, as was historian Alistair Moffat, who attended the school in the 1960s, and ex-teacher Hilda Adams, now a member of the Kelso High School Archive Group.

They were joined by current Kelso High headteacher Jill Lothian and four sixth form pupils from the modern-day school in Angraflat Road.

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The old school was at the heart of the community from the day it opened in 1939 until its closure in 2017.

The aim now is to continue that tradition with the provision of “quality homes and a vibrant community for older people”.

Work on the complex is expected to be completed early next year with the first occupants moving in from May.

Mr Moffat said: “It is a statement as a piece of architecture, and much of it is being retained. It is wonderful that it is going to be social housing, which is what the Borders needs, and on such a prime site.”

Mr Robertson added: “I’m sure the residents who come and stay here will enjoy the place every bit as much as the youngsters did when they were here as pupils. Many of them I believe will be ex-pupils of the school so it will be full of memories for them.”

The Poynder Apartments will be a mix of one and two-bedroom flats, along with the provision of onsite care and support services to people aged 60 years and above.

There will be a range of communal facilities available for tenants and the wider community, including a community hub where meals will be prepared and served, a hairdresser’s and a place for social activities.