Back to the main school news page
Charleston Day School News RSS Feed
Charleston Day opens addition

Post & Courier

Charleston Day School recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the school's 15 Archdale St. campus in downtown Charleston.

Mayor Joe Riley helped celebrate the event by cutting the ribbon and opening the 12,500-square-foot Student Academic Center for the first day of school.

The new brick-and-stucco structure includes a new library and technology center, student commons room, science labs, classrooms, offices and meeting space. All students in grades 1-8 will benefit from the center.

"This state-of-the art academic center enables Charleston Day School to maintain its position as an academic leader in the Charleston community, as our record enrollment indicates," says Headmaster Brendan O'Shea. "This building is for our students and faculty; the learning and teaching environment has been enhanced greatly by our new building."

Construction of the $4 million project was funded through a capital campaign that raised $3.7 million, largely from private donations. The opening comes as the school celebrate its 75th year.

Preservation Society Kicks-Off Amazing Building of Charleston Program with help from Charleston Day School's Preservation Superhero
See the article from the Preservation Society here
Charleston Day's new wing fits right in
Post & Courier
by Robert Behre

Charleston Day headmaster Brendan O'Shea admits he was a bit nervous when he first saw the large steel beams of his school's new wing erected along Archdale Street.

Would this large new building be well received? Or would some consider it a blight on a historic downtown street with two of the city's most beautiful churches?

As Trident Construction finished work and the doors opened last month, O'Shea's fears were gone.

The new Founders Wing not only is a handsome addition, but Archdale also is improved because the historic home that the school owns just to the south was moved to make room for the new wing.

That idea -- moving the single house about 18 feet -- is a main reason why Hilton Head architect Thomas Parker got this job.

The key move that made it possible for Charleston Day School to add this new wing was moving its historic house — 18 feet down Archdale Street. The move not only made more room but also improved the street's rhythm.

Parker says the move was virtually the only way to create a large enough building footprint on the school's 1.25-acre campus. Fortunately, it also creates a better street rhythm by eliminating a parking space and pulling the house closer to its neighbors.

"The biggest challenge was the property itself," Parker says. The school wanted a new library, a student commons space, a conference room and several new classrooms -- a wish-list that seemed to require at least twice the amount of land that the school actually had to build on.

The new wing's design is meant to blend into the street while recognizing this is a school, not another house.
"The building needed to look civic," Parker says, noting that an early notion to have a pitched roof was scrapped, partly because it would have looked too residential. Also, its precast concrete base sets it apart from nearby homes.

Parker says he made sure the wing's design, at least what's seen from the street, is smaller than the two 3 1/2-story brick single homes on the block's northern end. Its bricks have a similar brown, iron-spotted hue.
The third floor is pushed well back from the street -- far enough to create a spacious terrace. Also, the third floor has a lighter, stucco color that makes it less noticeable than the brick facade.

"When you go down the street, it doesn't' jump out at you," he says. "When you're in the parking lot, you can see the corner a little bit, but you really don't see this section at all."

Architect Sandy Logan also consulted on the design and helped usher it through the Board of Architectural Review.
Parker says maximizing the daylight inside -- and views of St. John's Lutheran and Unitarian churches across the street -- was another big goal. The Founders Wing has a series of large windows on its northern facade -- reminiscent of the loggia on the historic home facing it across the parking lot.

The only odd element to the project is that the school still seems to lack a prominent front door.
The new wing has a library on the first floor along Archdale, but its main entrance is still found in the school's much more modest 1960s building.
Reader pollDo you like the design of Charleston Day School’s new wing? Yes 59% 29 votes No 40% 20 votes 49 total votes.

But Parker's design work also came up with the idea for eventually replacing that 1960s building with a multi-story building that will be pulled to the street -- and provide a main entrance.

The space between this later building and the Founders Wing will match up with the Unitarian churchyard across the street.

O'Shea says the school -- which turns 75 this year -- began expanding four years ago, knowing full well that it would have to build something new -- or move --six years later. While moving --either temporarily or permanently -- was considered at times, he's glad the school is staying put.

"We wanted to stay on premises," he says. "We are in the fabric of the city."

Robert Behre may be reached at 937-5771 or by fax at 937-5579. His e-mail address is, and his mailing address is 134 Columbus St., Charleston, SC 29403.
Charleston Day School Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with Mayor Riley

August 19, 2011

Charleston, S.C. – Charleston Day School invites the media community to attend a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Monday, August 22 at 8:30 a.m. at the school’s 15 Archdale Street campus, downtown. Mayor Riley will help celebrate this landmark event by cutting the ribbon and opening the 12,500 square foot Student Academic Center for the first day of school.

The new 12,500 square foot center is located on the southeastern portion of the campus and includes a new library, a student commons room, science labs, classrooms, offices and meeting space. All students will benefit from the Center, which will be open to students immediately following the ceremony.

Construction of the $4 million Student Center project was funded through a capital campaign which has raised $3.7 million to date. Fundraising for the project began in October 2009 and has been funded largely by private donations. With the help of dedicated trade partners, Trident Construction oversaw construction and led the project from start to finish over an eighteen month span.

The opening of the new Student Academic Center aims to help to celebrate the school’s 75th year. Founded in 1937, the school continues to foster its mission of scholarship, integrity, respect and responsibility in our students. A strong sense of community within the School promotes these qualities necessary in the development of responsible citizens as effective future leaders. For more information please contact Charleston Day School at (843) 722-7791 or visit us online at

See a slideshow of the construction process from start to finish

©2012 Charleston Day School

15 Archdale Street • Charleston, SC 29401 •  (843) 377-0315 • Fax: (843) 720-2143