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Keakealani Campus Breaks Ground!

After twenty-two years of visioning, community involvement, and collaboration with the state and its partners, The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences achieved a major milestone by breaking ground for facilities expansion at our Keakealani Campus on July 25th, 2020. The beautiful ceremony led by Kahoʻokele Moses Crabbe was held via Zoom with a few socially-distanced special guests including Representative Richard Onishi who has been instrumental in securing funding for the campus.

Governor David Ige, Mayor Harry Kim, and County Council Representative Maile David all sent video messages of congratulations and support. Also in attendance at the ceremony were Friends of Volcano Schoool of Arts & Sciences Chair, Ian Cole, and Vice Chair, Jeffrey Mermel; VSAS Governing Board Chair Joan McDonald; Kalima Kinney, VSAS Principal; Dina Kageler representing the VSAS Founders, Seth Warner representing the Keakealani Project team, and members of The Friends of the Volcano School of Arts & Sciences.

Representative Onishi said that he was pleased to be able to carry out the legacy of the late Senator Gil Kahele who worked to secure initial state Grant-in-Aid funding for the design and planning phase of the campus on state land. Since that time, with Mr. Onishi, Senator Russell Ruderman, and also Atherton Family Foundation support, over 13.4 million has been raised for the project, most recently $12 million in state Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funds.

The new campus, designed by Volcano architect the late Boone Morrison, will have 16 classrooms, including arts and culture classrooms, 2 STEAM labs, indoor and outdoor spaces for small group learning activities, garden areas, covered walkways, a multi-purpose center large enough for all-school assemblies and community events, a commercial kitchen, and an administrative building. The design reflects our “learning village” surrounding a center piko courtyard for gathering, outdoor learning, and play.

In keeping with a commitment to environmental responsibility and stewardship, the master plan incorporates solar electricity, solar hot water, radiant floor heating, effective use of natural light and air flow, and the use of local and renewable resources. It provides adequate teaching space, maximizes open play space, and preserves the existing, historic 2-story Keakealani school house.

Friends of VSAS is working to raise the remaining $3 million needed to complete construction and is hoping to become a a qualified low-income community investment to participate in the IRS New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) program. NMTC would bring the $3 million needed in funding.

Friends of VSAS would also like to thank those who have worked on the project team: Tamar DeFries, Project Manager, Hoʻokupaʻa; Yen Wen Fang, Brian Funai, and Mark Grant of Engineering Partners, Inc.; Seth Warner, Architect Consultant; Lance Oliveira of Civil Construction. Video of the ceremony Jesse Tunison, Volcano photographer/cinematographer, director, producer, and VSAS alumnus, and Hal Tredinnick, VSAS Digital Media teacher, Hal Treddinick, will be released soon.

We apologize that due to construction and COVID-19, the Keakealani Campus is closed to all visitors at this time. We are so sorry for the inconvenience. We realize that the community has long used the campus as a park and we thank you for your understanding and patience.

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