Campus Plan: Upper School

“We need to offer [STEM] classes that will better prepare students for those fields and expose them to STEM career paths earlier, and you need space to do that. I came to Durham Academy because of the opportunity to really help build this program. I’ve taught middle school, high school and college-level engineering. At DA we can provide a place that models what is going on at the college, university and industry level. This building makes a STEM career path accessible to all students and inspires them to pursue that path.” 

Leyf Peirce Starling ’99, Upper School physics/robotics teacher

  • Creates innovative, spacious, safe learning environments specifically designed for current and future needs 

  • Adds 8,000+ sq. ft. of space with academic and social benefits

  • Brings academic disciplines together and fosters cross-disciplinary collaboration

  • Allows the Upper School to grow enrollment while preserving small class size

  • Completes Upper School master plan and provides campus-wide accessibility



  • Creates state-of-the-art science, technology, engineering, math and robotics facilities to support cutting-edge teaching and learning
  • Supports student demand for sciences with additional, larger classrooms that facilitate group work
  • Solves spatial and safety challenges

“We’re all really excited — the way that it’s designed is really intuitive. Everything is so spacious, and it’s the ideal place for collaboration. Before, we often had trouble fitting everyone inside our small robotics classroom and we could only have a certain number of hot plates on in the chemistry lab before the fuse would blow. Now, we don’t have any limitations and we can focus on learning. It’s so exciting that the incoming ninth-graders will be able to experience this for all four years, and the current Middle School and Lower School students can look forward to having an amazing space to take their classes.”
- Victoria Lawton ’20

Humanities Wing


  • Increases flexible, collaborative learning space — a mix of larger classrooms with smaller, seminar space and private work/study areas 
  • Establishes interchangeable classrooms and shared departmental offices to improve faculty cohesion, curricular collaboration and continuity
  • Creates additional two-story commons with built-in opportunities for student-teacher interactions, or where entire grade levels can meet

Photo by Keith Isaacs

“Seminar rooms are going to be wonderful for English classes. Having a space that suggests this is a small class, it’s discussion-based and we’re all going to be at this table and do this intellectual work together is awesome.” 
- Harry Thomas, Upper School English teacher

K Family Outdoor Commons

OPENed november 2019 | PHASE 2B

  • Creates multi-use amphitheater with stepped seating and open pavilion for recreation, outdoor performances, dining or gathering as a team/advisory group
  • Provides better balance of indoor/outdoor space as Upper School enrollment grows closer to optimal size
  • Accentuates natural views by opening campus to athletic fields

“My favorite part of our campus is and has always been the fact that it's outdoors. I think this new pavilion will provide a great balance with the construction of the new STEM building, and become another space of community gathering — our ‘cafeteria.’”
- Lana Kalfas ’19