After decades of petitioning and planning, the long-awaited Kihei High School in South Maui broke ground Monday morning off Piilani Highway.
Serving grades nine to 12, the school will be located on more than 77 acres of undeveloped land. Its approximately 215,000-net-square-feet of buildings will support an enrollment capacity of 1,650 students and approximately 206 supporting faculty and staff.
State Rep. Kaniela Ing, D, Kihei, Wailea, Makena, says the community has been waiting for this moment since the 1990s.
“People have made it clear that this is South Maui’s top priority,” he said. “As my o’o hit the ground, I couldn’t help but get emotional. We have achieved the number-one goal that we have set out to do. The people of South Maui should be very proud of themselves.”
Ing noted that the project will benefit more than just South Maui, because classrooms in Maui High and Baldwin are overcrowded, and traffic into town can be cumbersome. Its value also extends beyond education, he added.
“This is more than just a school,” Ing said. “Our community currently does not have a stadium or even a gym. Through sports and clubs, our high school will give our young people a better sense of belonging and serve as a true hub for our community at large.”
Monday’s groundbreaking kicks off the first phase of the site’s infrastructure construction, which includes the digging of two water wells and the building of an access road. Group 70 International is the architect, planner, and civil engineer of the project.
The school is estimated to open as early as 2018, depending on how funding, design and contracts are secured and completed. It is expected to be the first Net Zero high school in the entire state, powered by clean and renewable sources.
“We commend HIDOE for allowing us to incorporate the highest standards of sustainable design in this school,” said G70 president Charles Kaneshiro, AIA, LEED AP, Hawaii’s leader in green school design. “Net-zero is the level of sustainability we hope to one day achieve for all Hawaii schools.”
The state legislature met the governor’s request to fully fund the $130 million project in 2013, but unforeseen fiscal challenges and administrative changes kept the department from spending $100 million of the funds. When Gov. David Ige’s administration took over in 2014, the department opted for a phased approach.
Thirty million dollars will be immediately available from the legislature for the first phases of construction, which includes ground work, constructing wells, and an access road ($400,000 has been already awarded). Construction of classrooms and administration buildings will encumber the remaining appropriation.
According to Ing, the project will cost an additional $50-$100 million depending on the final design and cost of materials.
Ing said he will work to get funding underway for Phase 2 in the next legislative session.
The following site plans were provided by Group 70 International: