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A Day to Celebrate Promise and Possibility

A Day to Celebrate Promise and Possibility

Dana Hall School students and faculty marked a historic occasion on Monday, March 4, 2024 with the opening of the new Upper School Building. The entire school community celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by the first All-School Meeting in the renovated Waldo Auditorium.

With commemorative pennants in hand, students marched behind bagpipers from a traditional Step-Sing in the Erisman Student Center down to the main entrance of the building. There, Head of School Katherine Bradley was joined by Board Chair Courtney Caruso ’05, All-School Co-Presidents K. Chen ’24 and D. Reinstein ’24, and Fearless Futures Campaign Steering Committee Co-Chairs Marcia Teng Ishizuka ’77 and Sandy Niles P17, 19. After the ceremonial ribbon-cutting, students and faculty made their way to Waldo to find their seats. 

The day signified the end of a 19-month construction project, though planning and fundraising for the building started much earlier than that in 2019. It also heralded the beginning of a new chapter in Dana Hall history, as the former version of the building had not been renovated or significantly changed since it originally opened in 1956.

"This project has always been deeply rooted in Dana Hall’s rich history. Today, as we celebrate this facility and all the possibilities it holds, we honor our past, just as we did when we made the design decision to keep the central portion of the old Classroom Building, including this auditorium."

Head of School Katherine Bradley

Bradley thanked the numerous individuals involved in the design and construction of the project, including the architects from Dario Design and general contractors from Construction Management & Builders (CM&B) who joined in the celebration in Waldo.

From the beginning, the project was centered on the student experience. The 73,622 square-foot building features flexible classrooms, common spaces for collaboration and connection, purpose-built art studios, a Makerspace and choral room, and fully-accessible facilities to support all students.

"The rebuilt classroom building will allow the community to be closer together since all the resources for students are much more concentrated, from the Academic Office to Student affairs— the support you need is only a few steps away,” All-School Co-Presidents K. Chen ’24 and D. Reinstein ’24 told their fellow students. 

The celebration provided an opportunity to thank the 453 donors who contributed to the project. “All of these people believe in the mission of Dana Hall – they believe in you, and in the students and teachers who will be here next year, and 10 years from now, and far into the future,” Bradley shared. “They want you to have the best possible experience, in the best possible facility. They want to make sure you have every opportunity to learn, grow and thrive, and then go out into the world to lead with confidence and compassion.” She noted that donors included alumnae, parents of past students, current parents, and faculty and staff.

Fearless Futures Campaign Steering Committee Co-Chair Sandy Niles P17, 19 shared why the Manton Foundation, of which she is a trustee, chose to invest in the project, in part because of the power of Dana Hall’s mission to prepare the generations of students for the challenges and choices they will face as women and citizens of the world. Her Co-Chair Marcia Teng Ishizuka ’77 noted the vision and hard work that brought the building to fruition are “a testament to the unwavering commitment  and collective effort of administrators, staff, faculty, students, parents, alumnae and supporters who believe in the transformative power of a Dana education.”

The community celebrated the occasions with musical performances by the Dana Hall Flute Trio (I. Wellington '24, S. Kim '24, E. Lindstrom '25) and the Dana Hall Chamber Singers, who performed a song from “Sister School,” an original musical by Choral Director David Coleman P22

Board Chair Courtney Caruso was the final speaker on the program, and she told the students, “This building represents your future. You will be the first ones to create, to lead, to analyze, to present, and to perform in this new space. You will have successes and failures and you will discover much within these walls. It is yours to make your own, and to leave your mark.”

The program concluded with the singing of the Alma Mater, and then students and faculty held their first official classes inside the new facility. 

See Photos from Ribbon-cutting and First Day of Classes