Durham Academy Middle School began welcoming students to the brand-new Arts & World Languages Center on Monday after many years of planning and nearly two years of construction. The light-filled facility — which houses world language and arts classes — is the first step in a four-phase plan to reimagine the Middle School campus. The 42,000-square-foot building includes eight language classrooms (Chinese, French, Latin, Spanish); five arts studios for visual art, band, chorus, drama and movement; and Horton Hall, a soon-to-open 500-seat performing arts/special events space. Every Middle School student will attend arts and world languages classes and (eventually) be an audience member or performer in Horton Hall.
Space within the Arts & World Languages Center is grouped by subject, allowing for collaboration among teachers who are housed together for the very first time. The two-story commons features a multi-use staircase with a seating capacity of 90 that serves as a central gathering space for classes, meetings, presentations, study sessions or social time. One of the features the world language teachers are most excited about is the multi-use kitchen that will support hands-on cultural cooking classes for students, as well as serve as a catering facility for special events. We’re grateful for the 71 generous donors who invested in state-of-the-art facility to support our teachers’ talent and our students’ ambition.
The facility was designed by Cannon Architects and constructed by C.T. Wilson Construction, of which DA alumnus Charlie Wilson ’89 is president and majority owner. Cannon and C.T. Wilson are responsible for the most recent additions to DA’s campuses, including the Upper School’s Learning Commons, Kirby Gym and STEM & Humanities Center.