Durham for DSA Advocates for Keeping DSA Downtown

By Matt Kopac and Annie Ambrose

Durham School of the Arts (DSA), located on the southeast border of Trinity Park, is a vital community asset in the heart of downtown and an historic campus in sore need of improvement. The Board of Education (BOE) previously voted to build a new DSA in North Durham, but a years-long effort by school and community members to question the plan has persisted and recently coalesced into a group called “Durham for DSA”. Skyrocketing costs for the new campus combined with other critical school needs (like classified staff pay and student lunches) has given new momentum to the campaign as the school board is faced with a difficult choice: pursue new DSA and delay desperately needed elementary school renovations, or reconsider improving DSA in place.  

With the expertise of planners, architects, engineers, and other advisors, Durham for DSA brought a proposal to the school board that would make DSA an exceptional place for our students and educators, while leaving enough money from the 2022 bond to renovate three elementary schools. The plan combines new construction and renovation and would keep students at a safe distance from construction. Staying in place would maintain accessibility for DSA families, avoid auto-oriented sprawl, and result in a much lower carbon footprint. 

Durham for DSA will be present at the May 23 Board of Education meeting to advocate for pausing work on the new campus, assessing an alternate option, and engaging the community.  As of mid May, we remain hopeful that there is still time to change course.  

Advocacy, Education