With ribbon-cutting, Dana Hall celebrates new building

Monday, March 4, marked the grand opening of the newly renovated and rebuilt Upper School Classroom Building. Students and faculty have been using temporary spaces since fall 2022, but now the building is ready to host classes and offices for the Dana community. 

The morning started off with a Step-Sing in Common Ground to celebrate the opening of the new building. Students were then led by bagpipers in order of grade to the new building, waving Dana Hall pennants and cheering. When they reached the building, students stood by grade as they watched Ms. Katherine Bradley, Head of School, officially opened the building by cutting the blue ribbon strung across the front doors.

During the opening assembly that followed, one theme was the historical ties between the original building and its rebuilt version. Ms. Bradley’s speech quoted from the speakers at the building’s original dedication on June 2, 1956. Other speakers included two alumnae who are members of the Board of Trustees: Marcia Teng Ishizuka ’77, former Chair of the Board, who spoke about her experience as a boarding student at Dana Hall, and Courtney Carusso ‘05, current Chair of the Board, who talked about how Waldo was where she performed Cabaret, heard about the September 11, 2001, attacks, gave her All School Co-President election speech (which she lost), and sang along to “Penny Lane” during the end-of-year ceremonies. She told the gathered students, “This building represents your future.”

The assembly featured performances by the Dana Hall Flute Choir and the Chamber Singers. The Chamber Singers sang “Ensuring the Legacy,” written by Choral Director David Coleman for Ms. Bradley’s installment as Head of School in 2016. It later became a part of Mr. Coleman’s musical “Sister School.” As the singers performed, a slideshow of archival photos of Dana Hall women throughout the years was projected behind them.

For the dedication ceremony, students sat in assigned seats in Waldo Auditorium, the first time that the whole school had gathered together in Waldo since March 5, 2020. The rebuilt auditorium is much larger, and the new seating includes more leg-room. Unlike the previous auditorium, the renovated Waldo now has a maximum occupancy of 621 people, and every teacher has a place to sit.

Other speakers included trustee Sandy Niles P’17 & ’19, who is also a trustee of Manton Foundation, a major donor to the building project, and who spoke about the funding for the building and the school’s larger impact. Kelly Chen ’24 and Daisy Reinsten ’24, All-School Co-Presidents, also gave welcoming remarks.

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