Three years in the making and just weeks from completion, the new Middle School Arts & World Languages Center marks the first phase in a multi-year makeover planned for Durham Academy’s Academy Road campus. The reimagination of the first campus created for Durham Academy, with facilities made for ages 4 and up, to a Middle School by design for ages 10 to teenager is a dream come true for teachers.
For the first time, Middle School arts — visual art, band, chorus, drama and movement — and world languages — Chinese, French, Latin and Spanish — will be housed together, with faculty and students teaching and learning in spaces designed just for them and taking both programs to a whole new level.
“One of the most important parts of teaching is setting up environments for success,” band teacher Andrew Lovett said. “The new building is going to have a lot of really good tools that I think will help the band program a lot.”
“I am so excited to be in the same building as my fine arts colleagues,” drama teacher Ellen Brown added. “To be able to run to Mary Norkus with a question about choreography, or collaborate with Karen Richardson on our musical theatre course and be in the same building will just be really exciting.”
Videographer Jesse Paddock and drone pilot Dave Chandler take us inside the nearly completed facility, designed by Cannon Architects, built by CT Wilson Construction (headed by Charlie Wilson ’89), and boasting the largest special event/performing arts space — Horton Hall — on any DA campus. The support of dozens of capital donors have helped make the first stage in the transformation of the Middle School campus a reality.
Video by Jesse Paddock
Drone Footage by Dave Chandler
“I think it’s just going to totally change the student experience by having a space that’s designed for them and the work that we do. It is so exciting to see that our school wants to support the arts by providing a space for our students,” theatre teacher Ellen Brown said.
Barring any delays, DA expects to receive a certificate of occupancy by March 5, and the additional instructional space will allow a phased return of all Middle School students to campus this spring.