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Temporary Kamehameha III Elementary School campus transferred to DOE, set to open April 1 : Maui Now

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Temporary school for students of Kamehameha III Elementary. PC: US Army Corps of Engineers

The US Army Corps of Engineers announced on Tuesday the successful installation and turnover of the newly constructed temporary campus for King Kamehameha III Elementary School students to the Hawai‘i State Department of Education.

USACE reports the temporary school comprises 336 modular units across 38 buildings, including classrooms, restrooms, a dining room, community space, administrative offices and learning resources areas. With the key handover, the DOE will proceed with furnishing and installing telecommunication equipment before opening the school in the fourth school quarter on April 1, 2024.

USACE officials say the transition marks a significant milestone in the recovery and rebuilding efforts following the wildfires.

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The temporary site for Kamehameha III Elementary is in the mixed-use Pulelehua project area located below and just to the south of Kapalua Airport, and mauka of the Honoapiʻilani Highway.

PC: Department of Education

In collaboration with FEMA and the State of Hawai‘i, USACE embarked on a mission to design and oversee the installation of this educational facility following the devastating Aug. 8, 2023 wildfires, which destroyed the original King Kamehameha III Elementary School campus and displaced approximately 600 elementary school students.

Students and staff of King Kamehameha III Elementary have been sharing a campus at Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary School since returning to class in mid-October.

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USACE received a FEMA mission assignment on Sept. 13, 2023, to support the State of Hawai‘i and the DOE in this endeavor, and installation of the temporary school in West Maui commenced on Nov. 20, 2023. Upon making the announcement, USACE set a goal of completing their mission in 95 days.

During a visit last week, US Sen. Brian Schatz told Maui Now, “I’ve never heard of anything getting built in 95 days, but to get a school built in 95 days so that on April 1 these kids can go back on campus, is something worth really celebrating and being appreciative of.”

Col. Jesse T. Curry (9.26.23) PC: Wendy Osher

“We are immensely proud of the collaborative effort that has led to the timely completion of the temporary King Kamehameha III Elementary School,” said Col. Jess Curry, Hawai‘i Wildfires Recovery Field Office commander in a news release. “Our teams have worked tirelessly to ensure that the Lahaina community has a safe and conducive learning environment for its children, and this is one more step toward recovery and the beginning of the rebuilding process following last year’s wildfires.”

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“We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all our partners who have contributed to the successful completion of this project,” said Curry. “The Lahaina community has demonstrated resilience and unity in the face of adversity, and that set the standard for USACE, and our local, state and federal partners, to ensure the children of Lahaina can resume their education without delay.”

In earlier reports, officials with the US Army Corps of Engineers told Maui Now that the $53.7 million base contract covers all the utilities, terracing, installation of the modular facilities and the first 6 months of leasing the buildings. FEMA fronted the $5.36 million in initial costs needed to award the contract, including the costs of market research and preliminary designs for the school. 

The US Army Corps of Engineers reports that there are additional options including an option for the state Department of Education to renew its lease on the modular buildings in six-month increments for the maximum of five years. 

“If all the options are exercised along with the costs of returning the land to its original state once King Kamehameha III students return to a permanent facility, the contract will total $99.9 million,” said Edward Rivera, Regional Public Affairs Specialist with the US Army Corps of Engineers in an earlier report.

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Source: Maui News

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