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New school building is dedicated in Ewa

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  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    A new building dedicated Tuesday at Ewa Elementary will provide additional classrooms for kindergarten and first grade, a special-education classroom, a technology lab and more. In attendance were Assistant Superintendent, School Facilities, Dann Carlson, left; Principal Stanley Tamashiro; Gov. David Ige; state Rep. Matt LoPresti; Complex Area Superintendent Heidi Armstrong; first lady Dawn Amano-Ige; and the president of S & M Sakamoto Inc., Dale Sakamoto Yoneda.

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    A new building dedicated Tuesday at Ewa Elementary will provide additional classrooms for kindergarten and first grade, a special-education classroom, a technology lab and more.

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Kindergartner Szaige Bumanglag, center, danced to “We Love Abe Lincoln” during Tuesday’s dedication of a new one-story building at Ewa Elementary School.

Gov. David Ige joined dozens of kindergarten and first-grade students, along with faculty and state officials, to dedicate a new one-story, air-conditioned building at Ewa Elementary School on Tuesday.

It was a homecoming of sorts for the Iges: The governor’s father graduated from the school in 1931, and his wife, Dawn Amano-Ige, also attended the school, which was known as Ewa School and served many plantation workers’ children.

The new building houses one special-education classroom as well as three kindergarten and three first-grade classrooms, a technology lab, a faculty center and a conference room. Construction of the nearly $6 million building began in March 2015 and was completed in September. About 120 students have been using the building since January, when teachers moved into the facility.

“It’s exciting to be here on the campus,” Ige said. “This school is so important to our community because it is the place where learning begins.”

Principal Stanley Tamashiro said officials have been planning for the building for about five years. The additional classrooms have helped to bring down the average class size for kindergarten and first grade to about 22 to 23, from 26 to 27 prior to the facility.

He said enrollment has been fairly steady over the past few years at about 1,100 and is projected to remain so. The building also features mounted projectors, larger whiteboards and small instruction rooms for teachers to meet with students one on one.

“This building provides us with much-needed additional classrooms in order for us to lower class size,” said Tamashiro, who attended the school at the same time as Amano-Ige. “Our students, faculty and staff are working in a very learner-friendly environment, and the fact that the building is air-conditioned is definitely a benefit.”

Tamashiro said construction to install air conditioning in 17 other classrooms is slated to begin in June and be finished in early October. The school is listed as No. 14 on the state Department of Education’s heat abatement priority list, which has prompted concerns from residents, said state Rep. Matt LoPresti (D, Ewa Villages-­Ocean Pointe-Ewa Beach). LoPresti said the new building was much needed, especially because its classrooms are air-conditioned.

“It’s been long overdue,” LoPresti said of the new building.

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