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Closed Wailupe school now used as office for city Parks Department

LAST UPDATED: 11:08 a.m. HST, Jul 27, 2011

Question: Whatever happened to the land and facilities at Wailupe Valley Elementary School, which was closed in June 2009 in a school consolidation move?

Answer: Some city Parks and Recreation staff have been working at the Aina Haina campus for a year, and the city also plans to use it for preschool and senior programs and for other city departments.

The state Department of Education closed Wailupe Valley Elementary School on June 8, 2009, after 50 years of operation. Most of its 75 students were relocated to Aina Haina Elementary School a mile away.

The state at first discussed using the site for a charter school or a "signature school" focused on science and technology, or for department administrative offices.

But the state returned the site to the city, which is the landowner, city spokesman Jim Fulton said.

On July 1, 2010, the city moved its Parks and Recreation District 1 office from Ala Wai Community Park to the vacant property. Parks staff are using the main office and lower first building classrooms. District 1 oversees parks from McCully to Sandy Beach.

"It's a nicer facility because the prior facility was older. It is more central for our operations now," said Todd Hiranaga, District 1 manager.

The district office move is considered permanent, Fulton said.

Next month, the office will be accepting applications for its Tiny Tot and adult and senior programs. The Tiny Tot program is designed for children age 3 to 5. These programs will operate on the ground floor of the second building.

The city Department of Transportation Services also will use space at the school for storage, and the Royal Hawaiian Band has undisclosed plans for use of the property. Fulton said details on the Royal Hawaiian Band's use of campus facilities could not be released at this time, pending a Sept. 1 meeting of the Kuliouou-Kalani Iki Neighborhood Board, at a site to be determined.

The state closed the school after an evaluation by the Department of Education. Six months after closing, the property was vandalized, the Star-Advertiser previously reported.

The department has since closed two other schools, the one-room Keanae School on Maui and Queen Liliuokalani Elementary School in Kaimuki.

Keanae School had no enrolled students and was closed in 2010. Liliuokalani Elementary was closed in May. Most of its 98 students will be transferred to Liholiho and Waialae elementary schools.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said District 1 of the Parks Department covers the area from Aina Haina to Waialae. Also, a previous version said the Kuliouou-Kalani Iki Neighborhood Board would meet Aug. 4.

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