Architectural rendering of the new Science & Humanities Commons

Portsmouth Abbey School Announces $20 Million "Securing Our Academic Future" Campaign; Breaks Ground on New Science Building


Peter Kennedy '64, Chair of the Science Building Steering Committee, offers remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony

On Friday, September 29, the Portsmouth Abbey School Board of Regents announced "Securing Our Academic Future," a campaign to construct a new science building for Portsmouth Abbey School. The campaign has already raised $13 million toward its $20 million goal.


The state-of-the-art science education facility designed by Architerra, an architecture, community design, and development advisory firm dedicated to sustainable design and smart growth, will be annexed to the east end of the Burden Classroom Building, extending from the Holy Lawn north toward the football field and track. The new building will include seven laboratories, seven classrooms, faculty offices, a multi-purpose seminar room, and a multi-story commons that will serve as the crossroads of science and the humanities.

"This is an incredible academic initiative and perhaps the most important initiative in the School's history because it will allow us to truly have an academic center at Portsmouth Abbey," said Headmaster Dan McDonough, speaking to the crowd of several hundred students, faculty, staff, regents, and honored guests who had gathered on a beautiful fall afternoon.


The wood and steel-framed structure will complement the existing Belluschi architecture on campus and adhere to the highly efficient low-emissions green standards that began with the building of St. Brigid's House in 2007. Its eco-friendly components will meet LEED Gold design specifications, and its flexible-use interior will ensure that the School can remain abreast of the rapidly changing academic landscape in the sciences.


View from the Holy Lawn of the new science building, which will be annexed to the east end of the Burden Classroom Building and will extend northward toward the football field


Abbot Matthew Stark, O.S.B., blesses the project

The School has contracted with A/Z Corporation for the construction of the building. A/Z offers an impressive depth and breadth of construction services, spanning from non-profits to corporate, government, and healthcare facilities. Their portfolio of completed products includes a significant focus on academic science and research buildings; their work can be found on college campuses across the Northeast.


Dignitaries turn dirt: (l-r) Science Department Chair Robert Sahms; Regent Emmett O'Connell, Jr. P '16 '17; Chairman of the Board of Regents Chris Behnke '81 P'12 '15 '19; Headmaster Dan McDonough; Science Building Steering Committee Chair Peter Kennedy '64 P '07 '08 '15; Science Teacher Janice Brady; Head Girl Kate Hughes '18; and Head Boy Tom Teravainen '18


Aerial rendering of the new building site

For additional information about this transformational project, please visit where you can take a virtual tour of the new building, learn about naming opportunities, watch a time-lapse video of the building site and much more. You are also invited to contact any member of the Science Building Steering Committee.


Science Building Steering Committee

Peter Kennedy '64 P '07 '08 '15 -


Chris Behnke '81 P '12 '15 '19 -


Devin McShane P '09 '11 -


Emmett O'Connell P '16 '17 -


Daniel McDonough, Headmaster - or 401.643.1240


Matt Walter, Director of Development - or 401.643.1291


Andrew Rose, Senior Development Officer - or 401.643.1280


Patty Gibbons, Campaign Officer - or 401.643.1281



285 Cory's Lane  Portsmouth, Rhode Island 02871

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