The Middle School is the first home Durham Academy ever constructed from the ground up. It represents an emotional and historical connection for the school. The Academy Road campus housed all DA students (grades pre-k through 10) from 1966 to 1973, when the Upper School was completed on Ridge Road. It continued to house the Preschool, Lower School and Middle School until 2002, when the current Preschool/Lower School was built on Ridge Road. Over time, the campus has been retrofitted to serve its changing student population.
One of the issues that generated a significant amount of research and discussion during the 2015 strategic planning process was whether DA should unite its divisions on the Ridge Road campus. Ultimately, several factors contributed to the decision to keep the Middle School on Academy Road.
Developmentally, there are advantages to being able to focus on a very specific age group at a very transitional time in children's lives — academically, socially, emotionally and physically.
Programmatically, the Middle School's location as its own oasis allows faculty to structure the entire school day around its age group with a great deal of flexibility.
Socially, students are able to enjoy freedom from the scrutiny of an older peer group and the security of an environment where they can grow up, gain confidence, take risks and lead.
There is no parcel of land that would rival the current Middle School’s 22 expansive acres, with an open campus that instills students with a sense of freedom and an outdoor learning environment that allows them to use their campus as a classroom.
The comprehensive renovation as part of Beyond the Threshold will reimagine Academy Road to support the best student experience imaginable, incorporating innovative ideas and best practices; creating a campus by design, not by default.