Hawaiʻi lawmakers urge swift construction of temporary site for Kamehameha III Elementary
Hawaiʻiʻs congressional delegation is urging the Army Corps to provide the Hawai’i Department of Education with the resources and support it needs to build a school to temporarily replace Kamehameha III Elementary School as quickly as possible.
US Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Representatives Jill Tokuda (D-HI) and Ed Case (D-HI) sent a letter to Lieutenant General Scott Spellmon, the Chief of Engineers and commanding general of the United States Army Corps of Engineers calling for swift action.
“Before the recent wildfires, 3,001 students and hundreds of teachers and staff members from HIDOE’s Lahainaluna Complex—which includes Lahainaluna High, Lahaina Intermediate, Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary, and Kamehameha III Elementary—were getting ready to start the school year,” the lawmakers wrote. “But these students, teachers, and staff members had their lives completely upended by the wildfires.”
Next month, the HIDOE plans to reopen Lahainaluna High, Lahaina Intermediate, and Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary Schools. However, students from Kamehameha III Elementary—which was completely destroyed in the fires—will be co-located at Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary until a temporary school can be built.
“HIDOE has been working to build a temporary school for the students, teachers, and staff members of Kamehameha III Elementary,” lawmakers wrote. “This temporary school will provide a short-term solution for students, teachers, and staff members until a permanent school can be built in its place.”
Following the HIDOE’s request for funding to build the temporary school, the Federal Emergency Management Agency tasked the project to the Army Corps of Engineers.
“We urge you to work closely with HIDOE and provide it with whatever resources and supports it needs to build a temporary school that meets the needs of the Kamehameha III Elementary’s students, teachers and staff members,” lawmakers concluded. “Many in West Maui are still healing from the wildfires, but our work continues to make sure those affected have the resources they need to rebuild in a way that reflects their values.”
In a press conference on Thursday, Gov. Josh Green said details surrounding the temporary campus would be announced on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023.
The full text of the letter is available here.