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New Kapolei School Will Help Alleviate Overcrowding

Second City Spotlight…Rep. Sharon Har

On Fort Barrette Road across from the Kapolei High School campus is an unremarkable lot. The most notable features of this lot, which was originally conveyed by Campbell Estate and now by D. R. Horton to the state Department of Education, is the ever-present dust that is broken only by sparsely populated grasses and shrubs. It may not look like much yet, but it is not too soon to shine the Second City Spotlight on the future location of Kapolei’s next elementary school.

Children (and their parents) in Kapolei and Makakilo are faced with a unique challenge that students face nowhere else in the entire state. The area is home to two of the four schools in the state (Kapolei Elementary and Middle) that use year-round calendars to combat the overcrowding and over-taxing of their campuses.

The unique situation forces many keiki who might live at the top of Makakilo to attend school in Kalaeloa.

Kapolei II Elementary (as it is known during the design and construction phases) offers a possibility that our keiki might be able to go to school much closer to where they live, and to attend school on a traditional calendar that offers the opportunity for enrichment during the summer through activities or more schooling.

I am proud to have been a member of the House Finance Committee when money was appropriated to design and construct the new campus. It was a tacit recognition that overcrowding in area schools was not acceptable, and that year-round schooling was to be a Band-Aid rather than a long-term solution. The $43 million did not come easy. But in the end, the Legislature recognized that educational facilities are a basic necessity that was lacking in Kapolei.

Design and construction are expected to take a little more than a year, and the new campus is scheduled to welcome students by August 2015.

As a “design-build” project, the state will save money by having the same company (Kiewit Building Group) design and construct the school.

This type of project also has been found to lead to better workmanship and a higher-quality product.

The new school aims to nurture “a community of leaders, dreamers, explorers and global thinkers for a brighter future.”

To meet these lofty expectations, the campus is will have classrooms for students in pre-kindergarten to grade 5, a cafeteria, administrative space, class gardens, play areas and space for future expansions.

I wish future principal Loreen Dunn and all of her future faculty and staff the best of luck at this new campus.

And to our community and children who will benefit from this new school, congratulations!

Contact state Rep. Sharon Har, D-District 49 (Makakilo/Kapolei) at 586-8500 or email her at rephar@capitol.hawaii.gov.

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