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DoD Grant Funds Hale Kula Upgrade

Major changes are on the way for Hale Kula Elementary School, following the announcement of a $26.6 million award from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and $6.6 million grant from the state Department of Education (DOE).

The $33.2 million will be used for improvements throughout the campus.

“We are very excited to receive funding to upgrade our school,” said principal Jan Iwase. “Our school was built in 1959, and the modernized facilities will help us prepare our students to be 21st-century thinkers and learners.”

The award process began in 2011, when the DoD began to review the facilities of 157 of the 160 public schools that exist on military bases. According to their report, Hale Kula, which is on Schofield Barracks, was ranked ninth worst out of the 160 schools reviewed.

As part of a $250 million effort to upgrade public schools on military bases nationwide, Hale Kula was invited to apply for funds in October 2011.

Following the initial application, the DOE worked with the DoD Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) from December 2011 to February 2013 to submit a proposal, hosted a federal site review and completed a final online grant proposal. Schools applying for funding were graded on their condition and capacity.

Now that Hale Kula has received confirmation of the grant, collaboration is under way among the DOE, U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii, OEA and the school to address deficiencies noted in the accessment.

“New buildings will include an administration building, a library media/student center, a two-story classroom building, a covered outdoor play court and renovation of the existing classrooms,” said Iwase.

Existing classrooms will have tiles and asbestos removed and replaced with new flooring, as well as freshly painted interior and exterior. Also on the list is the installation of ceiling fans and some furniture replacement for shelves and cabinets.

Currently, Hale Kula’s military dependent children comprise 98 percent of the school’s population.

“This much needed funding will help ensure the children of families stationed at Schofield Barracks can learn in a school with facilities that meet their needs,” stated U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono.

Construction is slated to begin this summer and is anticipated to be complete in August 2016.