NEW Student Center

Portsmouth Abbey School’s new Student Center is a stunning 8,000-square-foot structure under construction on the western side of campus, perched behind the Kennedy Classroom Building and facing Narragansett Bay. Completion of the project is expected this fall.

The "Student Porch"

Conceived as a ‘student porch’ from which members of the Abbey community can gaze out on the world, the elegant, one-story structure was inspired by expressed student desires and will provide a host of spaces designed to meet their needs.

Student-Focused Features

  • Study rooms to support group collaboration as well as individual learning
  • Flexible common space to accommodate student presentations, meetings, dances and casual socializing.
  • A covered terrace overlooking Narragansett Bay that provides additional space for students to convene and landscaping that cradles an amphitheater with granite stone seat walls.
  • Enhanced late-night dining and weekend leisure at the comfort food grille and outdoor fire pits.
  • A view of activities on Raven’s Quad and Narragansett Bay.

Environmental Responsibility

In keeping with the Benedictine philosophy of environmental responsibility, the entire structure is conceived with an eye toward sustainability. A copper-colored aluminum screen covers the terrace, providing shade and allowing diffuse sunlight into the commons. Additionally, a copper solar screen and pergola reduce heat gain on the facility and enable efficient operation of the mechanical systems.


Reflections from Jeremiah Healey III ’91 P’21 ’24 on the influence of the region’s historic residents, the Narragansett, in the conception of the structure. The Healey family’s donation to support the center marks the largest single donation in the School’s history.

Appropriately, the Algonquin-speaking Narragansett people built two types of homes.

In the summertime, individual families lived separately in wigwams, or wetus, where they fished and farmed. But in the wintertime, they would come together and move into longhouses—low, vast structures designed to hold many families, with central firepits and communal cooking.

As the winters on Narragansett Bay have changed little in the past 400 years, we realized over time that the students of Portsmouth Abbey, like the Narragansett people, also needed a second home, particularly in the long, dark months of the year.

A place where the many families of the Abbey houses can come together outside of their homes.

A place to share food, fire, and friendship.

A place in the spirit of the Quonset and the longhouses, oriented horizontally, emphasizing the bonds among all the schools.

A place inspired by the monastery but distinct from it, where students can come together as their own unique community

Pictured above: Ground Breaking Ceremony in May of 2022

What does it mean to be a monastery and school on the shores of Narragansett Bay? 

“It means being both truly universal and truly local. It means having an anchor to the east, rooted in Benedictine tradition, looking upward to heaven, and an anchor to the west, rooted in the history of this place, looking outward, towards your peers, for warmth and fellowship. May the two ever support one another.” – Jeremiah Healey ’91, P’21,’24

Watch the Student Center being built in real time!

Click here for livestream and timelapses.

Special thanks to our general contractor SiteSpecific for sharing.