East Hawaii News

Kealakehe Will Gain ‘Keonepoko North’ Buildings

August 13, 2015, 2:57 PM HST
* Updated August 13, 2:58 PM
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Kealakehe High School is one of two schools in the state that will receive a portion of the portable classrooms constructed to create Keonepoko Elementary School North in the parking lot of Kea’au High School last year. Keonepoko Elementary School was forced to shut down and move students out as the June 27 lava flow threatened the Pahoa area.

In May, the emergency was lifted and students at Keonepoko began the school year at the school’s original location in Pahoa.

Now, the 10 leased facilities sitting in the Kea’au parking lot will be purchased by the Hawai’i State Department of Education for $1.6 million and moved to Kealakehe and James Campbell High School. The new building will provide assistance with classroom overcrowding and a renovation project.

“We are constantly looking for possible solutions to address the heat and capacity issues at our schools,” said Office of School Facilities and Support Services Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson. “The purchase and moves of these portables fits within our budget and addresses immediate concerns at these schools.”

Kealakehe High will received two of the larger structures to provide four ‘swing space’ classrooms that will be used during a renovation project of the school’s science building.

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Eight of the portable buildings will be taken to Campbell High school. The buildings will provide space for 15 classrooms.

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All of the structures have built-in air conditioning units.

“We’ve been working with the facilities team to find a way to help our students at Campbell,” said Campbell-Kapolei Complex Area Superintendent Heidi Armstrong. “This is a great solution for us as we continue to discuss solutions for our long-term needs in this ever-growing community.”

Electrical requirements will have to be met before the arrival of the new buildings.

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DOE officials say the projects should be completed for both schools in January 2016.

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