Originally founded in 1952 as part of the Episcopal Parish of St. James in Newport Beach, Harbor Day School is Orange County’s oldest independent school. The expansion to the six-acre campus, our current site, was the vision of Headmaster John Marder, Jr. and several key members of the board and parent community. In 1972, our single-story schoolhouse opened its doors to over 300 eager students, faculty, and staff. In designing the new building, Mr. Marder and the team invoked the elements of a ski lodge. A wood-burning fireplace in the heart of the library and at the center of the school provided warmth and coziness—integral to engaging students in learning and offering the Harbor Day community a place to gather.
Over the years, Harbor Day has seen expansion with the addition of four specialty buildings. And today, our campus accommodates over 400 students and 70 faculty and staff. While our school has continued to shape generations of students, our facility is ill-equipped to meet the educational advancements of today and tomorrow. We are looking to give our exceptional faculty the spaces, resources, and technologies they need to provide the best learning opportunities for our students.
After several years of planning by our trustees and administration, on June 20, 2019, Harbor Day received approval from the Newport Beach Planning Commission to develop a new campus. Our two-story construction will increase square footage to approximately 99,000, nearly doubling the overall space. Flexible areas throughout our main building will allow for program growth, faculty collaboration, and cross-discipline adaptability. A wing dedicated to STEAM programming will offer modernized spaces for science, technology, art, woodshop, and design. And in keeping with tradition, the library, with its cozy fireplace and a wealth of literature, will be at the heart of our Harbor Day home.