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New public elementary school slated to open in Kapolei

  • NANEA KALANI / NKALANI@STARADVERTISER.COM
    The $38.3 million Ho‘okele Elementary campus will help alleviate overcrowding at neighboring schools in Kapolei.
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The state’s newest public school to be built in two years is set to welcome approximately 500 elementary students when it opens next week in Kapolei. 

The $38.3 million Ho‘okele Elementary campus will help alleviate overcrowding at neighboring schools in Oahu’s fastest-growing region. Kapolei Elementary, for example, which has been operating as a year-round, multitrack school with 1,100 students, will convert to a regular, single-track school with the opening of Ho‘okele Elementary. 

At full capacity, the new school will be able to accommodate 750 students. 

Principal Laureen Dunn said the school’s teachers are busy readying classrooms and other areas for students. She said the school will have a one-to-one digital device program that takes advantage of built-in technology features such as wireless Internet. 

Ho‘okele, which means navigator or wayfinder in Hawaiian, is the first public school constructed using the so-called design-build method, a fast-tracked delivery system where the design and construction services are handled by a single entity. The DOE credits it for the project’s relatively quick build-out. 

“This is a great evidence of the timeliness we think we can conduct projects with. If you were here 17 months ago, this was a dirt field,” Dann Carlson, the DOE’s assistant superintendent for school facilities and support services, said Tuesday at the new school. “And to be able to build this in a 16-month period — particularly for the DOE — is quite a feat.” 

D.R. Horton Hawaii, developer of the nearby Mehana at Kapolei subdivision, provided the 12-acre parcel for the school. The DOE contracted Kiewit as the lead contractor. 

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