KIHEI >> A new high school on Maui won’t be welcoming students as planned next fall because the state Department of Education didn’t build a pedestrian bridge to the campus.
The state Land Use Commission on Thursday voted unanimously to stick to its earlier decision to require the state to build the bridge over Piilani Highway to Kihei High School, Hawaii News Now reported. That means the school won’t be able to open for the fall 2022 semester.
The busy highway separates the school from neighborhoods where many students live. Currently, public school students in Kihei are enrolled at Maui High School in Kahului, which is overcrowded. There are some charter school options in the area.
The commission in 2013 said either a pedestrian overpass or an underpass would be required for safety.
“It’s a shame that this high school, which is almost built, will not be open on time,” said Dan Giovanni, the commission’s vice chairman. “To me, the fault for that is the DOE.”
A department spokesperson said the department is assessing its next steps.
DOE officials said the state Department of Transportation advised them that a pedestrian bridge was not yet necessary because only a few students were scheduled to start school in August 2022.